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Living with a perfectionist

(48 Posts)
christie2 Sat 29-Dec-12 17:04:16

Living with a perfectionist is wearing me down. Wasn't always this way, but dh has reached middle age and asserted himself over the household. Fair enough, it can't be all my way either but how to achieve the balance. I can't always be wrong. I feel too old to feel so insecure yet the constant criticism really is wearing me down. My mid life crisis has me wanting to pack it in and let him do it his way and I do it mine and be done with it. But there are children to consider......... Help!

HisstletoeAndWhine Tue 01-Jan-13 00:51:21

Another one here with a man like yours in her now dimming and more distant past.

Get him out of your lives at whatever cost, for the sake of your lovely children, and I promise you, you'll never look back.

We'll all be here for you, for however long it takes.

porridgelover Mon 31-Dec-12 16:28:24

Thanks allergic; can I have one with bubbles and save it til later? grin

Allergictoironing Mon 31-Dec-12 16:08:04

As porridgelover (and various others further up the thread including me) has pointed out, you need to balance the short term hurt the children will feel when you break up with the long term damage that is being done to them every day they stay in that environment.

Brilliant analogy porridgelover - have a wine on me for it grin

porridgelover Mon 31-Dec-12 16:03:49

taught= thought...... obviously <<grr>>

porridgelover Mon 31-Dec-12 16:02:37

"my kids are definitely what keeps me in it. I feel that there must be a way to change this and not hurt them. I feel like they may end up being relieved"

If there is a 'script' that EA partners follow, I am starting to believe that there is a 'script' that partners follow too.

I dont want to break up the family.
Perhaps it's all my fault.
He's a wonderful father.
I stay for the sake of the children.
I dont want to hurt the DC/my parents/his elderly parents.

I dont think there is a way to change this without hurting them. However, the alternative is that they will be hurt by growing up with this model of parental relationship.

Think of it as being in a burning building with your children. The only way out is through a door way ringed with fire. They will be singed on the way out. They will have smoke inhalation. But if you stay inside, the house will burn around you. Which would you choose?

It applies to you too. It will be tough, but you will come out of it better. Someone gave me that advice. I taught it wouldnt be true for me. But it is.

christie2 Mon 31-Dec-12 12:02:26

Thanks all. I am booking a counsellor appointment today as a first step to get my head sorted first. Then I will be able to find a proper lawyer if that is the way to go. I read over the suggested sites on emotional abuse and it hit me hard that I am living in a way I never thought would happen. It sneaks up on you and my kids are definately what keeps me in it. I feel that there must be a way to change this and not hurt them. I feel like they may end up being relieved. I appreciate the support. I am not ready to talk this over with face to face friends and family but needed to "say" it to someone who cares. Thanks for being my online friends.

porridgelover Sun 30-Dec-12 11:24:31

doughnut, you probably know that having your DH stay for the sake of the kids is nonsense. Why are you involving them in it? And if he is asking them, it is tantamount to psychological abuse. They don't get to have a say in it, I'm afraid. No more than they get to say whether they will wear a seat belt.

I would not take drizzlecakes advice to shout back....why would you reduce yourself to their level? And be certain, that he will have no compunction to stooping even lower. Plus, STBX will refer in pained tones to 'how you shout at me'. Dont do that to yourself, nor to DC. A dignified 'you may not speak to me in that way' and turning on your heel is sufficient.

porridgelover Sun 30-Dec-12 11:18:31

OP ''The thing that scares me is that I am starting to believe I am the problem''.
I was that person with a difficult, controlling and abusive H.

They love a strong woman that they can dominate. they love to grind you down. It's a challenge. (See this for why). They usually get going when kids arrive as a) you wont leave and b) they no longer have your full attention to themselves (he is supposed to be your ultimate child).
Go to counselling- tell the counsellor that you are in an abusive marriage (you are) and that you are gathering the strength to finish it. Do not go to couples therapy with him.
Shop around for a better lawyer.

You sound like a fabulous person. 5 DC and you work and keep a home? Wow. Good luck.

CogitOCrapNotMoreSprouts Sun 30-Dec-12 09:54:46

" how do you force someone out?"

See a lawyer, get some proper advice and ultimately start the divorce. That sets a lot of things in motion, including physical separation of living arrangements. You don't need his permission to do this.

drizzlecake Sun 30-Dec-12 09:50:29

Yes, it might not work but OP says he wasn't always like this.

I don't think DCs can decide what is best for you all doughnut. They probably don't want the embarrassment of telling school mates etc. that they will be moving between two homes etc. Don't want the upset.

Perhaps you could start conversations with them and explain what would happen and how it would all work, and that it could be fine, with a happier mum and dad.

Letting them air their fears would be a good thing.

doughnut44 Sat 29-Dec-12 23:06:42

Cogit - he doesn't want to go either or else he would be gone - how do you force someone out?

GrendelsMum Sat 29-Dec-12 22:38:03

Is this how you want your daughters to be treated by their husbands?

Is this how you'd be proud to hear your sons talk to their wives?

Because if you stay with him, that's what they're learning a normal relationship is like, and that's what they'll go out and recreate for themselves. And when your daughters are unhappy, they'll stay together for the sake of the children...

doughnut44 Sat 29-Dec-12 22:27:13

drizzlecake, that didn't work for me - he just tells me I am mad/hormonal/fly off the handle which makes me feel worse.
I do ignore him most of the time and let him get on with it but it's mighty wearing!

CogitOCrapNotMoreSprouts Sat 29-Dec-12 22:26:26

"the kids don't want him to go so he won't."

Do you do everything your kids tell you to do? hmm Or do you usually exercise judgement and decide what's best for them?

doughnut44 Sat 29-Dec-12 22:24:02

I am going through something similar myself. I work from home and he even meddles with that. I honestly thought he was going to leave yesterday after I had asked him to (again), but the kids don't want him to go so he won't. I feel so trapped but I suppose I have to live with it.
All our friends love him and think I am a terrible wife as he does everything. Fact of the matter is as far as he is concerned he does it better than me - even down to hanging up the clothes to dry.
I have to grin and bear it for now. At the moment I have PMS so it's bad but I know in a day or so I will cope again - until the next time sad

doughnut44 Sat 29-Dec-12 22:23:01

I am going through something similar myself. I work from home and he even meddles with that. I honestly thought he was going to leave yesterday after I had asked him to (again), but the kids don't want him to go so he won't. I feel so trapped but I suppose I have to live with it.
All our friends love him and think I am a terrible wife as he does everything. Fact of the matter is as far as he is concerned he does it better than me - even down to hanging up the clothes to dry.
I have to grin and bear it for now. At the moment I have PMS so it's bad but I know in a day or so I will cope again - until the next time sad

tiredofwaitingforitalltochange Sat 29-Dec-12 21:08:18

He sounds like my husband. We separated two months ago. I am not a shrinking violet either. I pulled him up for his treatment of me but he didn't change in time. I'm happier living separately, though it's horrible when the children aren't here (like now) but it still feels awful having a 'failed' marriage and there is lots of guilt.

But there is no choice because it's really destructive living with someone like this, for the children too.

I think you should look into your options and get the hell out if you can. x

drizzlecake Sat 29-Dec-12 20:25:32

I would try totally bollicking him back. eg (at the top of your voice) For Christ's Sake stop the fucking criticism, if you don't like how I do it fuck the hell off. You are a whingeing old woman and I am not going to listen to this petty bleating a minute longer, either shut the hell up or get out. - you walk out the door slamming it behind you.

The kids make this difficult to do but I think I would tell them that Mummy is totally fed up with Daddy shouting at her and is going to shout back the next time he does it. Then they will know it's coming. They probably take the goings on at home as 'normal' but if you point out how nasty he is they will probably agree that he is and see it from your point of view.

It is horrid being criticised and put down but it will be pretty horrible for him when you scare the shit out of him by yelling back. People don't like being shouted at angrily and it might just make him change his ways.

Certainly I have been calling my DH on a few occasions (having allowed myself to become a doormat over the years and avoiding confrontation 'so as not to cause a row') and his behaviour has improved amazingly. I have to keep reminding myself to not let things go but it has definitely made a difference.

Your DH of course could be beyond redemption but it might be worth a try.

LineRunner Sat 29-Dec-12 19:37:39

I would go and talk to a different solicitor. Your DCs might be old enough (are they 13+?) to decide with whom they wish to reside, and your husband will have to facilitate this to some degree.

You may be able to manage with a part-time job. But do talk to a more switched on solictor. Best of luck.

CogitOCrapNotMoreSprouts Sat 29-Dec-12 19:15:06

To continue Allergic's point, you should check out the thread about 'Warring Parents'... link

If he is telling you that YOU are the problem and YOU need counselling then that sounds totally wrong... and a symptom of an emotionally abusive man... my H knows that I grew up with a semi-alcoholic mother who always shouted and banged things around whenever she had to clean the house and I hated that, now he tells me I'm being lazy whenever I don't make enough 'effort'. I rue the day I let him know about my mother-issues, his biggest insult to me is to tell me I'm being like my mother... please read the emotional abuse thread and start with the links at the top, I've found it invaluable and am now able to detach from (most of) his abusive behaviour. Even if you cannot leave physically right away it helps to understand what he's doing. Good luck! I used to think my H was a perfectionist as well, now I just think he is a d*ckhead.

Allergictoironing Sat 29-Dec-12 19:09:07

Christie2 you say in your op that you want to pack it in but you have children to consider. Well consider how being brought up in the household he seems to want is going to affect them long term.

Do you really want them taught to believe that women are here to obey the slightest whim of their DPs, that they are failures unless every single thing is perfect, and that it's right for a man to treat his DP like yours treats you?

amillionyears Sat 29-Dec-12 19:01:57

op, does your dh have a medical diagnosis of something?

CogitOCrapNotMoreSprouts Sat 29-Dec-12 18:57:42

I'm hoping Mooncups is demonstrating how emotional abuse works by posting ironically.... rather than just being an insensitive arsehole. smile Emotional abusers set the scene so that you're always 'trying a bit harder' in an effort to avoid the nit-picking. But, since they have no intention of you ever meeting their impossible standards, your efforts will never be quite good enough. It's a pretty classic bullying/emotionally abusive technique.

Allergictoironing Sat 29-Dec-12 18:54:40

His role model is his mother. Hmm, did she have 5 kids and work part time too? I somehow doubt that!

Mooncups I'm going to be very generous and assume you left a wink off your post by mistake.....

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