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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!

fromparistoberlin Fri 04-Jan-13 13:04:58

he needs a MASSIVE kick yup the arse, as he has basically normalised some shitty and selfish behaviour

I think you need to do something quite drastic to shock him out of this

I think he has maybe got depressed and has developed some rather shit habits and practices?

suggest you read that book, and then have the courage to say "this cannot continue"

shesariver Fri 04-Jan-13 11:29:48

My marriage nearly broke up many years ago because of my DHs unreasonable behaviour - things are completely different now and Im glad we are still togethere. But it was a fine line - if he hadnt admitted he had a problem then there would have been no hope. Its all very well blaming stress and depression but this doesn't stop the other people involved suffering, its no excuse. It may be a reason but equally it may just be his nature. If hes ill, he needs help and if things aren't changing in the short term then temporarily you do need top separate as none of this is healthy for you and your children.

skullcandy Fri 04-Jan-13 11:02:33

I cant advocate leaving temporarily, enough.

Not only will it hopefully give him a kick up the arse, but it will also give you and the kids some breathing space to live without that cloud of stress that you're all living under.

pictish Fri 04-Jan-13 10:27:04

Great posts there from Poppy and Nickname.

Mu1berryBush Fri 04-Jan-13 10:22:09

Malignant optimism, yeah, I have to file about four years under Malignant Optimism.

NicknameTaken Fri 04-Jan-13 09:44:17

Great post from Poppy (and many others).

I hope you are reading, OP. I'm one of the people who has been on this journey too, and it can be a long hard road to admit that you don't have the power to make him behave better.

I thought I was loving enough and resilient enough and clever enough to fix it. It was very difficult to admit that I wasn't.

When you've been in a relationship for a while, there are "sunk costs" - stuff you've already invested. You think you've held on for so long and sacrificed so much that if you just hang on a bit longer he'll finally see that your love can be relied on and he'll finally be grateful and be the "real" self you see in him.

Faith, hope and love are good things, really they are. But in this kind of relationship, they can lead you into what's called "malignant optimism" long after a realist would see it's not going to work.

Don't give up on your love and desire to help, but you must focus these good qualities on your dcs. You need to put them first. Let him take some space from his family (one of his stressors?) by leaving for a while. Tough love to him - perhaps he really will get his act together. But your dcs deserve a decent childhood and only you can give it to them.

PoppyField Thu 03-Jan-13 20:24:13

Dear OP,

So sorry your DP is behaving so horribly to you. I know you are not at the stage where you would consider ending your marriage, so people piling in with 'Leave The Bastard' sentiments does not fit with the stage you are at. I suppose all those people for whom 'this was me five years ago', were also all once at the stage you are at now i.e. saying 'he may be depressed or he has had a hard time and that's why he's being so nasty to me'.

You are trying desperately to find a solution - you are determined to build a happy home for your babies and to fix it - AND you think it must be up to you to find it. This is exactly how I felt. I thought determination and grit would get me through the 'rough patch'. I felt I just had to think really hard, find some reason for his abominable behaviour and tackle the reason. Depression seems an obvious choice as a reason, and I often felt that might be at the root of things with my STBXH.

You absolutely do not want to be told you were in an abusive relationship. It is horrifying. When I was told - by the Relate counsellor I had dragged H to - I was shocked and almost offended. 'What me?', I thought.

Nobody wants their marriage to fail. As it does feel like failure. I expect everybody on this thread who had to leave an abusive relationship 'really, really' tried to save it for all they were worth. The sad thing is, I realised that the only way to stop my STBXH being vicious, angry and controlling to me was for us to split up. I tried everything I could think of. In the end, you realise that he is not vicious, controlling and abusive to other people or work colleagues - no, it is just for you and a smattering for the DCs as well. I loved him, but he drained the love out of me just as surely as if I had been an innocent veal calf hung up and bled dry. I found my strength on behalf of my children eventually and kicked him out. He is still angry, vicious and controlling but I do not live with it. That was the only way. But I only got there after eliminating every other possible thing I could think of. That is probably where you are now and I really feel for you. Not in a patronising way, just feel the pain and confusion that you are in. You will be confused...it is hugely confusing to be treated like this by someone you love and who is supposed to love you. It just does not add up.

The posters on here are supportive. It may not feel like it, and maybe some have been pretty brutal, but belive me, we are watching your back and we have read the script a few pages ahead of you. It's a horrible thing to come to terms with, but your OP was pretty horrifying, even if you actually didn't realise the picture you were painting.

Good luck with everything and be brave. He seems like a man who is happy to poison the atmostphere of his home, abuse his wife and children and blame them for his misery. I don't have much time for someone like that. How dare he treat you like that. How dare he?

Poppy

AnyFuckerForAMincePie Thu 03-Jan-13 19:11:34

Op, if you are still reading let me tell you about my mother

She too put her relationship with my father before her childrens emotional well being

She stayed with her dominator of a husband all through my childhood, giving the constant excuse that she loved him and he couldn't help how he was

Let me describe our relationship, now I am that grown up child. I hate him...but I Despise her MORE. Because she had chances to put her DC first, and she put him before them.

Me ? Well, we will gloss over that bit but my teenage and early adult life were blighted by what I was exposed to as a vulnerable child, trying very hard to gain the approval of a man that was never going to give it

Do what you like, rail against us all you like. But your DC do not deserve the poor examples that both of you are giving them....and one day you will be sorry. My mother is...but it's too late for us. She is still with him. He still treats her like shit, 30 years later.

dequoisagitil Thu 03-Jan-13 19:10:28

@Fuckadoodlepoopoo

The difference in reactions is usually because women who come on here feeling depressed and that they are not coping with their children are actively seeking to change their behaviour. Therefore they're received with compassion for the most part, (and sometimes tough love).

But someone who comes on who is trying to 'fix' their partner, whether it's their depression or anger issues or alcoholism for example, will inevitably be told that their partner is the one who has to come to grips with the problem. You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink.

There is very little you can do for someone who won't see a GP or admit their problems, while expecting you to endure their negative behaviours. Especially when those behaviours affect the dc. Apart from come to an ultimatum or leaving the bastard.

fuckadoodlepoopoo Thu 03-Jan-13 18:17:24

OxfordBagsThu 03-Jan-13 16:47:29 No, you can't, Poodle, you're right. Which means by your own argument, you must stop excusing the behaviour of the OP's husband just because your own DH's depression manifested as blame and nastiness to you.

No it doesn't mean anything of the sort because I've never excused anything the ops dh has done. Instead i have remained openminded about the possibilities for why he is behaving like this. Perhaps it is one, perhaps it is the other or perhaps it is a combination of the two.

There is too much black and white thinking on this thread and on mn in general and too many keen to dismiss the idea of this sort of behaviour in men being caused by mental illness because so many are looking for threads where they can shout Abusive! and Controlling!

Whereas if this were a thread about a woman who was finding herself depressed and shouting at her kids, not handling their behaviour well, not wanting her dh to go out and leave her alone with them like this man, the responses would be ones of compassion and understanding. When its a man its responses of he's a bastard chuck him out.

By the way my dh was never nasty to me but thought i didn't love him which in his state at the time he was using to explain his horrendous feelings and state of mind.

I agree that the children shouldn't have to put up with it whatever the cause as I've said previously.

OxfordBags Thu 03-Jan-13 16:47:54

Sorry, I meant Doodle, not poodle!

OxfordBags Thu 03-Jan-13 16:47:29

No, you can't, Poodle, you're right. Which means by your own argument, you must stop excusing the behaviour of the OP's husband just because your own DH's depression manifested as blame and nastiness to you.

Maybe depression IS causing him to act like this. The only point being, however, that OP shouldn't have to put up with it and her Dc certainly shouldn't have to. Abuse because someone is just a cunt and abuse because someone's MH issues are making them act like a cunt are both abuse and both have the same effect. Those poor kids won't be able to differentiate, nor should they.

It's not about sticking with him through thick and thin until he gets better. Those children can't be sacrificed for that,even if the Op is daft enough to choose it for herself. The emphasis has to be on him speedily and proactively sorting himself the fuck out; and if this truly is depression manifesting itself as him being abusive, then he needs to be removed or remove himself from the family environment until whatever treatments he receives start working enough for him to be non-abusive again.

We can all argue forever about why he is being this way, but the whole point is that he IS behaving like this and it is unacceptable and must stop ASAP.

fuckadoodlepoopoo Thu 03-Jan-13 16:30:06

Oxford. You can't compare one persons mental illness to another and say well i don't do xyz so you shouldn't either. Its not one size fits all its a huge variation of conditions, symptoms, causes, etc.

TisILeclerc Thu 03-Jan-13 16:28:02

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TisILeclerc Thu 03-Jan-13 16:25:58

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FiercePanda Thu 03-Jan-13 16:21:14

Whether it's depression or the fact he's an abusive bastard, I lean towards the latter, Lucy's children are clearly being traumatised by her husband's behaviour. He should not be near them whilst showing the abusive behaviour and refusing to acknowledge it, blaming others or being unwilling to ask for/accept help. The DC's cannot help themselves in any circumstance, but Lucy's DH can.

OxfordBags Thu 03-Jan-13 16:12:42

I am fiery. I suffer from serious depression, as well as anxiety. I do not treat my partner and child like shit. They do not have to wait for me to be relaxed and stress-free for me to be nice. The reason why I don't let my fieriness (is that a word?!) and MH problems negatively affect them is the same reason why I don't let affect others either: BECAUSE I CONTROL MYSELF LIKE ANY NON-ABUSER DOES AND CHOOSE NOT TO BE A CUNT.

OP, am glad your children can live in suspended animation during the time when their father is behaving appallingly and only be alive when he is being nice. Wait... You mean, they don't? Then you son't have the luxury of minimising, denying and enabling his crap the way you are doing. Sorry, but this is the truth. And it IS constructive. It's just not the sort of constructive you want (ie lies and platitudes).

My Mum is truly lovely BUT she was also 'only' really bad-tempered when she felt down and my father minimised it and enabled her. Luckily, I 'only' require years of psychotherapy to deal with the legacy...

fuckadoodlepoopoo Thu 03-Jan-13 15:35:26

Lundy may have written a popular and helpful book and he is obviously right that no person should ever put up with violence in a relationship, he is also right that mental illness isn't "an excuse" but that doesn't mean that it isn't a reason.

cestlavielife Thu 03-Jan-13 15:27:33

certainaly giving him an ultimatum of "go to GP and get thoroughly checked out, or go elsewhere" is not a bad idea at all.

cestlavielife Thu 03-Jan-13 15:25:48

"Some men become abusive, controlling, verbally or physically abusive to wives, children, or other loved ones"

hmm not one lundy bancroft subscribes to. depression is no excuse.

in the op's case he "has always been fiery" .

so being more so maybe isnt a drastic change for him after all.... still if she can get him to gp and assessed for depression, who knows?

skullcandy Thu 03-Jan-13 15:25:19

The OP has stated that her DH has always been 'firey' this doesnt mean abusive or violent, if everyone who was 'firey' was abusive or violent then there would e a hell of a lot of people out there being locked away.

The OP has stated her DH has had a rough time and has 'become a different person'

Stress is also a huge factor behind anger manifestation and personality change.

you cant just start yelling LTB when he may be ill and in need of help.

He may be depressed, he may be stressed, he may have any number of things wrong, but a personality change needs to be medically checked.

cestlavielife Thu 03-Jan-13 15:21:01

ok i may be wrong but quick search says u need to look at DSM criteria tho -

"Equally surprising, the DSM fails to list anger as a symptom for either depression or mania" see www.mcmanweb.com/anger.html

www.psyweb.com/mdisord/MoodDis/majordepress.jsp

it seems that anger isnt in dsm for depression

but it is for bpd

www.bpddemystified.com/what-is-bpd/symptoms/

not saying i correct and lots of stuff linking anger and depresison anecdotally - but for gp to diagnose depression and issue AD,s/refer to therapy - the op's h will need other relevant symptoms...

skullcandy Thu 03-Jan-13 15:15:39

A person in the throes of major depression will outwardly seem to be in a state of self-isolation, lethargic, irritable and may have unusual sleeping or eating habits (in either case, too much or too little would qualify as "unusual"). But while we often think of people with depression as being sullen or morose, both the depressed person and those he or she comes into contact with may notice one other emotion in the early stages of depression: anger
health.howstuffworks.com/mental-health/depression/questions/link-between-depression-and-anger.htm

If you find yourself feeling angry more often than usual, or more often than not, depression could be to blame. Anger is a common symptom of depression, which can lurk beneath the surface of any man, woman, or child
www.happynews.com/living/conflict/depression-cause-anger.htm

It's long been known that the psychic pain of depression feeds anger. But just as often, anger fuels depression.... ... Anger confers an immediate sense of purpose; it's a shortcut to motivation. And if there's something depressed people need, it's motivation. But anger creates a cycle of rage and defeatism...
www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200311/anger-pain-and-depression

Approximately one third of depressed outpatients present with anger attacks.
psycnet.apa.org/psycinfo/1998-11813-003

Several studies have indicated that depressed patients show more hostile behaviour than comparable normal subjects.
www.amsciepub.com/doi/abs/10.2466/pr0.1987.61.1.87

One of the most interesting things psychologists have discovered is that depression and anger often feed each other.
www.angeranddepressionhelp.com/what-is-the-relationship-between-anger-and-depression

bruffin Thu 03-Jan-13 15:14:41

Also
Anger or irritability. Feeling agitated, restless, or even violent. Your tolerance level is low, your temper short, and everything and everyone gets on your nerves.

bruffin Thu 03-Jan-13 15:13:13

From another website

Are you depressed?
If you identify with several of the following signs and symptoms, and they just won’t go away, you may be suffering from clinical depression.
you can’t sleep or you sleep too much
you can’t concentrate or find that previously easy tasks are now difficult
you feel hopeless and helpless
you can’t control your negative thoughts, no matter how much you try
you have lost your appetite or you can’t stop eating
you are much more irritable, short-tempered, or aggressive than usual
you’re consuming more alcohol than normal or engaging in other reckless behavior
you have thoughts that life is not worth living (Seek help immediately if this is the case)

but this is really interesting

male depression

Unfortunately, men are far less adept at recognizing their symptoms than women. A man is more likely to deny his feelings, hide them from himself and others, or try to mask them with other behaviors. The three most common signs of depression in men are:

Physical pain. Sometimes depression in men shows up as physical symptoms—such as backache, frequent headaches, sleep problems, sexual dysfunction, or digestive disorders—that don’t respond to normal treatment.
Anger. This could range from irritability, sensitivity to criticism, or a loss of your sense of humor to road rage, a short temper, or even violence. Some men become abusive, controlling, verbally or physically abusive to wives, children, or other loved ones.

Reckless behavior. A man suffering from depression may start exhibiting escapist or risky behavior. This could mean pursuing dangerous sports, driving recklessly, or engaging in unsafe sex. You might drink too much, abuse drugs, or gamble compulsively.
there is also a good table which shows the difference in the way depression manifests between men and women

Women Men tend to:
women Blame themselves
men Blame others
women Feel sad, apathetic, and worthless
men Feel angry, irritable, and ego inflated
women Feel anxious and scared
men Feel suspicious and guarded
women Avoid conflicts at all costs
men Create conflicts
women Feel slowed down and nervous
men Feel restless and agitated
women Have trouble setting boundaries
men Need to feel in control at all costs
women Find it easy to talk about self-doubt and despair
men Find it “weak” to admit self-doubt or despair
women Use food, friends, and "love" to self-medicate
men Use alcohol, TV, sports, and sex to self-medicate

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