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DH is very controlling, selfish and often very angry - help!

(145 Posts)
LucyLego Thu 03-Jan-13 10:37:56

DH has had a rough ride in the last few years and it's changed him in to a different person. He has always been fiery but now it's ridiculous - he snaps at me, DCs and the dog for hardly any reason and shouts really loudly at me. He calls me a stupid woman, an idiot or tells me to shut up on an almost daily basis. He is often away with work and I don't work any more and it was supposed to make things easier but now it's even worse as he now never does anything useful with the DCs. I know I don't have to get up to go to work but it would be nice if I was allowed to go to the supermarket on my own just once in a while. He makes such a fuss about looking after DCs for an hour that it's just easier to take them with me. When he's at home he tends to just sit on the computer (yes, I see the irony!) and puts the TV on for DCs. He would never do any activities with them - colouring, painting, baking, going on a walk, taking them to a club etc. The most difficult things are to do with his opinion on my level of strictness with DCs and money. He constantly tells me that I don't discipline our DCs but the difference is that I don't just shout incessantly at them about nothing in particular. I can't get DS to nap in his bed anymore as DH has shouted so often about putting DCs in bed when they are naughty that he says "but I haven't been naughty" and cries. This week I've been trying to organise our summer holiday and have emailed him a few ideas as he's been away with work. He rang and was really grumpy about it and said "you just do whatever you like" in a stroppy teenager way. He is obsessed with hoarding money and checks our bank balance every day and quizzes me on what I have spent money on. I haven't bought anything for myself for ages and the only money I spend is on food, bills and DCs' clothes. He got really annoyed with me about the money I spent at Christmas, even though the majority of it for his family. I really do still love him and I don't want to break up the family but I can't go on with this. Does it sound like he needs some kind of stress / anger management counselling? Any helpful advice welcome!

struwelpeter Thu 03-Jan-13 12:01:52

Dear Lucy,
I can say it softly but in essence the advice will be the same. I too used MN under other names to search for solutions to cope with my abusive ex.
Now like many others here my life is much better without him.
But it is hard to have a bucketful of cold water poured over your understandable hopes that there is some wand to be waved that will bring the good guy back.
One thing to do is to draw a boundary and keep to your side of it: work out what you want i.e. to go to the supermarket on your own, see the kids enjoy the company of an engaged father, see their beds as a place of rest and sanctuary. Ask your DH calmly and quietly to contribute to making this happen, then walk away and calmly do something else.
Encourage DH to go to the doctor on his own, ask him if he wants to talk about the stresses and strains in his life, ask him if the GP has any suggestions.
But, as others have said much more forcefully you can do nothing to help him. You may choose to support his decisions when he tells you what the root of the problem is and what he is going to do about it but you cannot take on the burden of whatever it is that makes him angry with you unless you want to see yourself destroyed in the process.
A marriage or any relationship is surely about two people existing companionably and peacefully side by side, listening and supporting when necessary. But what is your husband doing to support you and your aspirations for your family?
The reason your DH doesn't shout at people beyond the home is that he doesn't dare because he respects them or fears the consequences. An abusive partner shouts because the other person is pliable because of their hopes, fears, desire to help or to understand. So you give him space to invade your sense of space and if you give an inch, he takes a mile. So stand tall, define your boundaries and see what happens.
(I'm sorry to say that I would bet money if I was a gambler that he will blame you, the family, the situation but not have the courage to look at himself.)

skullcandy Thu 03-Jan-13 12:02:41

my dh was like this, i put up with it, and put up with it, and put up with it.. then one day i snapped and i nearly punched him i was so made at being treated like dirt.

The next day i packd the kids up and moved out, for 9 months, lived with my parents.

Told him he either got anger management counselling and sorted himself out or we were over, done, because i was not there to be treated like shit just because he was unhappy/frustrated with work/family/whatever.

You're married to him, you're his partner, it doesnt give him the right to treat you like shit, nor do you have to put up with it.

you need to tackle him, you need to make it clear that you are not going to put up with it any longer.

He will likely tell you its your fault
that if you didnt do X then he wouldnt have to shout
that if only you did more around the house, parented better, disciplined the kids, showed him more affection, cooked better meals, got a job, didnt spend so much time watching telly/playing/out of the house that he wouldnt have any reason to get angry.

its bullshit

dont accept it

confront it, deal with it.

Tell him to get help or you're going, and MEAN IT.

Houseelf - did you actually read LucyLego's initial post?.

This cannot be fixed, he sees nothing wrong with his attitude.

He acts like this because he can and also because Lucy is in denial of what is happening in front of her eyes.

There is a big problem in this marriage (that is solely in the shape of her H) and Lucy has, like many women in abusive situations, taken it upon herself to try and fix this; well she'' keep trying until she herself realises there is no point. You cannot be a rescuer or saviour in a relationship, it simply does not work. That point too could be many years awaysadby which time the damage to her own children (who will also come to despise her because she put her H before them) will be well and truly done.

I would also think he's always been abusive but abuse is insidious in its onset and thus difficult to spot. Also many victims of abusive behaviours come to minimise or downplay abusive behaviours over time.

pictish Thu 03-Jan-13 12:05:32

* He just needs to stop and take stock. Of course, that is easier said than done, perhaps you could take him away for an evening or even a whole weekend and get him relaxed?*

Do you honestly think the OP has not discussed his behaviour with him before?? He will be well aware of how his behaviour affects his wife and children...she will have told him in no uncertain terms I'm sure.

He will make all the 'I know, you're right, and I'm sorry...I don't want to be like this' noises, then revert straight back to type because he doesn't give a toss. He does want to be like that, and he's not actually sorry at all. It is to his benefit to bully his family.

By the time a person takes this sort of thing to an internet forum to discuss, they have already tried having him 'take stock'. Trust me.

bruffin Thu 03-Jan-13 12:08:20

My DH went through a rough patch of depression and he wasnt being very nice . I didn't give up on him and now two years later he is back to the nice guy he was before.
I never posted on here because i knew all i would get is "he is a bastard leave him". He wasnt then and certainly isnt now. He was a very unhappy man, he actually ended up with a nervous breakdown. He needed help and thankfully we got through it.

He needs you to take control and make the gp appointment and go with him if need be and explain to the gp what the problem is. If he is suffering from depression or MH issues he does need someone to speak for him, although if he is not ready for help then it is difficult. People who do have depression arent seeing the world around them as you do, its all very well saying he is "why isnt he making his own appointment" but a person with depression are often in a place where they think there is no point in getting help because they cant see how anything will help.

DH had always had a problem so was on ADs. They were upped, he was given counselling. I was lucky my dcs are teenagers, who were absolutely wonderful. They understood that Dad wasn't himself and were incredible with him, even when he was saying things that werent very nice. The whole thing was a nightmare for a while, but we got there.

HecatePropolos Thu 03-Jan-13 12:14:14

I am sorry that you feel that our motivation is to hurt you. I am sorry that you think we are lining up to be cruel to you.

I hope that one day you can see that the view from outside is very different and that nobody here said anything that we said while rubbing our hands in glee at the thought that we might upset you.

You and your husband will one day have to stand in front of your children and justify their childhood to them.

I hope that one day you can see what we can see - from your own description we can see it.

Nobody is trying to hurt you.

mypussyiscalledCaramel Thu 03-Jan-13 12:15:00

If I was you I would take a look at this website. It will help you see things clearer.

No, IMHO (and bitter experience) he doesn't need Lucy to take the responsibility of him, make him an appointment, go with him.

This is an abusive man. He shouts at Lucy, her child thinks bed means he has been naughty and he can't sleep there, he is financially abusive.

He manages to control his behaviour around others, holds down a job etc.
most abusers feel that they are doing nothing wrong, it's their wives and families at fault. They are very clever at presenting a wonderful front to everyone else.

It's up to him to understand what he is doing is wrong and seek help.

You cannot change a person who will not accept they are at fault. And he has to seek help. He first has to accept he needs it.

The op needs to contact women's aid and get her children away before more damage is done.

fuckadoodlepoopoo Thu 03-Jan-13 12:21:27

My first reaction to your op was that he is an arsehole but having suffered from depression myself and acted vary out of character because of it and done things i will be ashamed of until the day i die because of it, i can understand better than some the effect it can have. The problem is working out if its out of character or if this is just who he is.

Even then you still need to do what's best for the kids so if he refuses help then it'll probably be best for them if you leave him.

My dh had depression too and was horrendous to be around. In the end the only thing that got him to accept help was to threaten to leave him and mean it. It then took a long time for him to accept that he probably needs to be on medication for life. Now that he has things are so much better.

bruffin Thu 03-Jan-13 12:25:46

Tantrumandballoons
You obviously know nothing about depression, fuckadoolepoopoo has been there and understands. She is right, Lucy needs to work out who is the real person underneath.

pictish Thu 03-Jan-13 12:28:35

No - Lucy needs to get the fuck out!

bruffin Thu 03-Jan-13 12:28:45

Lucy says he is a changed person, she wants to find out how to get the old person back, which is what I went through. We did get the old person back but it took 2 years of very low times for all of us.

mammadiggingdeep Thu 03-Jan-13 12:30:29

I'm sorry you feel 'got at' op. I think it's admirable that you take your vows seriously, you sound like a loving, loyal wife. However, you need to be loyal to your kids too.
What would you do if a teacher/child minded was disciplining them in such a heavy-handed manner?? If they shouted at them, lost their temper quickly when they 'were naughty'. I don't think you'd stand for it!!!! Why are you going to allow their father to mistreat them?? And I don't care what you say, putting them to bed for being 'naughty' to the point that their bed isn't a safe, secure place anymore is not right. Poor children, my heart has sunk reading about this sad

I hope you realise in time that it doesn't matter what the reasons for this mistreatment and abuse, you need to put yourself and your dc first.

Good luck Lucy x

funny thing bruffin I do know about depression. I also know about abusive relationships.

bruffin Thu 03-Jan-13 12:40:46

I also know about abusive relationships, as my father was very abusive to my mother.
But a person who has depression needs someone to advocate for them, they are not thinking right.

JugglingMeYorkiesAndNutRoast Thu 03-Jan-13 12:45:01

Dear OP - you seem like such a lovely person and I'm so sorry you and your DC's are being treated like this sad You seem very loyal, but you have to wonder whether loyalty to partners can sometimes not be the positive thing which tends to be portrayed ?

It does look to me though that your DH is being abusive to you all, and not just that he is suffering from depression.

My DH behaves badly to me in particular at times, but not as often/ extremely as your DH. You have to ask yourself how much abuse/ unreasonable behaviour is too much abuse don't you ?

With my DH I wonder if talking with him/ getting him to read something on here or parts of the Lundy Bancroft book might do any good ? I got that book recently but have only dipped into it so far.

What would people recommend as a possible way forward in a relationship with some unacceptable behaviour ?
I think the thread is interesting and helpful in asking whether it's possible for abusive men to change, and also how much unreasonable behaviour is too much to tolerate. sad

HotDAMNlifeisgood Thu 03-Jan-13 12:46:07

Bruffin, I read the statement in the OP that "he's always been fiery" as meaning that he is not, in fact a changed person, but one whose ever-present abusive tendencies are escalating.

And, depressed or not, he does need to take responsibility for himself, to take responsibility for the fact that he is hurting his own family, and to want to change. Depression does not remove individual responsibility.

bruffin Thu 03-Jan-13 12:49:16

DH has had a rough ride in the last few years and it's changed him in to a different person

Very first line he is a changed person

Again if you are depressed you dont think right, you cant always take responsibility for yourself.

NicknameTaken Thu 03-Jan-13 12:50:45

Juggling, I wouldn't show him the Lundy book. When I was at a similar stage to you, I found one-on-one counselling to be extremely helpful in deciding how to move forward.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Thu 03-Jan-13 12:54:36

But a person who has depression needs someone to advocate for them, they are not thinking right.

I took myself off to a GP, and counsellor, when I was not thinking right. (I also failed to abuse anybody else in the process...)

The fact that I took responsibility for myself was part of my recovery from depression. A very useful and necessary part. I did not "need" a person to advocate for me, although I certainly would have grabbed at the chance. And you know what? Doing so would have delayed my recovery, by handing over responsibility for myself to another person.

How quickly after you started managing his recovery did your husband take over managing it for himself, bruffin ? How long do you think Lucy should wait for a similar sign that her husband is taking responsibility for his own actions?

He is able to control himself with every other person in the world except his wife and children.

He is in control of his behaviour. He chooses to behave like this with the OP

JugglingMeYorkiesAndNutRoast Thu 03-Jan-13 12:57:20

Thank-you Nickname - I hope things are better for you now ? Counselling sounds a good idea - I have had a small amount of counseling before but not especially focused on this aspect of life. Perhaps I could try our local Women's Centre ?

dequoisagitil Thu 03-Jan-13 12:59:19

Thing is, he started off, by the OP's description, as an angry (fiery) person and now he's extremely (ridiculous[ly]) angry - that's not so much a changed person, as a person no longer holding back. hmm

HotDAMNlifeisgood Thu 03-Jan-13 13:02:22

What would people recommend as a possible way forward in a relationship with some unacceptable behaviour ?
I think the thread is interesting and helpful in asking whether it's possible for abusive men to change, and also how much unreasonable behaviour is too much to tolerate.

Juggling only you know how much you are willing to tolerate.

So a possible way forward for you would be to really reflect on what you will and will not accept, and to decide what action you will take in consequence if you see that your limits are being crossed.

The Lundy book you own discusses whether abusive men can change, and what signs to look out for that indicate that they are willing to change.

bruffin Thu 03-Jan-13 13:07:35

Hot, once the new dose ads kicked in he did start taking responsibility for himself, before that he was not in a place to take responsibilty for himself. There were plenty of days where he said there was no point because he couldnt see anything would help, but I made the appointment anyway. Our GP is absolutely lovely and listened to both of us, got him counselling etc

We had ups and downs but it got better and the downs were shorter and ups were longer, to now where we a happy family.

What harm will it do for Lucy to get an appointment for her dh and get him to go to the gp, and go with him and explain how he has changed. If he refuses then Lucy has to rethink, or if he starts on ADS and therapy and nothing changes again she has to rethink, but why not give it a go first.

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