Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
ZOMBIE THREAD ALERT: This thread hasn't been posted on for a while.
Ongoing row...two letters...your opinions please. (long)(42 Posts)
My original thread http://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/relationships/1653086-is-it-me-or-him
Ongoing row with yet again no resolution. I finally wrote him a letter:
I'm lost. And I can't go on this way. And more importantly, I won't go on this way.
I have argued with myself non stop about dragging out this silence but I keep coming back to the fact that if I don't fix it, it won't get fixed.
I can only assume that you think this is my issue. And therein lies the problem.
This particular situation was caused by your reaction to what you perceived to be criticism from me. You bullied dd13 over the tv, you reacted with aggression when I called you on it, you told us to shove it up our arses and stormed out of the house. You ignored me when you came back and again the following morning. And I'm supposed to do what? Apologise to you for not allowing you away with bullying? (Her tv programme ended before you put your coat on, yours started as you locked the front door).
Why can you not say "yeah, sorry, I over reacted"? That would have ended the whole thing there and then. But it seems to me that you do not actually believe you should have to apologise at all. Do I not deserve that level of respect? Does dd not deserve that level of respect?
How can you let this silence go on this long and do nothing about it? Does our marriage mean so little to you that you won't do anything to sort it out? Or do you really believe that I will just get over it and then you'll forgive me? Do you really think my standards for myself are that low that I would allow myself a month long hissy fit without being aware of the long term consequences? This is Day 41. If I had caused this, I would have apologised 40 days ago.
It's becoming very simple. I will not fix this. Because I always do. And then I get blamed. Or get called a miserable bitch. Or worse. And you don't apologise. Or if you do, you apologise for your words but not for the hurt you might have caused. And you think I'm too stupid to know that.
I have asked you twice to make time to talk about this. You have ignored both requests.
Our marriage is broken. I will not continue in a relationship where I am not respected, where communication only works on a practical level, where I am afraid to talk to you and have to suss out your mood before attempting to discuss anything, where I get no hugs, no emotional support, no intimacy.
I will continue with my counselling and I think you need to do the same. You cannot handle conflict, you get defensive instantly, you get aggressive and you are not able to say sorry. I don't want an aggressive SOB, especially not when that aggression can be directed towards me. (He once told me he was an aggressive son of a bitch but he was my aggressive SOB!)
It took 8 hours but he eventually replied with this:
How strange is this, apart from a different preamble and opinion of how this started, I could have written that letter from me to you. One difference is that in the twelve years or so that we have known each other, you have never, ever said the word sorry, it's always my fault.
Regarding the kick off event, I very strongly object to being treated like an unwelcome intruder in my own home and being spoken to like a piece of shit that walked in on someone's shoe, it wasn't just the comment, it was the atmosphere when I walked into the house. This is not the first time I reacted that way to the same treatment, which does of course depend on your humour at any given time. In the past I did decide to offer the olive branch for the sake of all. I am a reactive person, I never walk in looking for trouble and I most certainly am not a bully. I don't think I am very demanding and I don't generally interfere in how you guys operate the house, even though there are some things I don't like or agree with.
This time I decided not to apologise for my reaction and use of intemperate language. You decided to use teenage girls schoolyard bullying in an attempt to make me conform to your way of thinking. Of course, I don't bully easily so when that didn't work you then demand that I sit down and talk to you. I'm sorry for not asking "how high" when you decided I should jump, after six weeks of been sent to Coventry, especially when I have not been refusing to talk to you, that was your game.
On the wider issue of relationship and intimacy, it was me that suggested counselling and I assumed it would mean for both of us. I don't know the answers so commenting or discussing would probably not be productive, without at least some conversation with a counsellor as to how that should be handled.
I am a man, I'm not a SOB, I try to be gentle but that does not mean soft and I am just as amendable to a hug as anyone else.
I think you two need a mediator. We have no way of knowing who's right and who's wrong.
It is very sad if you think he bullies you. It is very sad if he feels like an intruder in his home.
We can't know who's right, OP.
I think your marriage is over, frankly, when you end up sending each other letters like this whilst living in a house where neither of you will speak to each other. I cannot see that either of you can 'fix' it because it appears that you have both reached the end of the line. And the bottom line is that neither of you want the marriage enough anymore to continue in it.
well, I didn't see the original, but from this, you both seem to think that the problem is the other persons. You both seem to think that the other one has an issue with apologising and you both seem to think that the other one is the one who is not talking.
Counselling - together - seems like a great idea.
There really is no way out of an impasse. If you both have completely different ideas about how this started, then there is no way to resolve that conflict, you just have to agree to differ. The more important issue is where you go from here. There are obviously some big issues between you, especially around communication, and the only way to move on is to talk. Stop writing and start talking and start by setting a date for a joint counselling session.
Regarding his intruder comments, my normal behaviour when he comes in in the evening is to ask him how he is, ask how his day went, tell him what's for dinner. That evening was no different.
Other evenings, I go out to work as he comes in, so it's a bit rushed with the hellos and goodbyes etc.
While there are always days where my humour might not be as bright and bubbly as the previous day, I have never treated him with disrespect.
He is, no doubt, feeling "intruderish" as a result of this row. He would say hello when he came in, but I know from past experience that if I said hello back then the row would be assumed to be sorted and he will not discuss it further.
My issue that day was that he bullied dd, not me.
I don't actually agree that the marriage is necessarily over, but it has certainly reached a pretty low point
thing is - your view is your view, his is his, and probably somewhere in the middle sits the truth, I doubt either of you is lying, you just see events in different ways
trouble is op, as imperial said, we just can't know who is right and who is wrong anymore.
The is the original post on my other thread....might give more perspective.
^So my dh is very emotionally unavailable. He gets defensive, not only when challenged but also when I want to talk about something he doesn't want to talk about. He has absolved himself of all discipline of our 13 year old daughter. Other than a perfunctory kiss goodbye etc there is no other physical or intimate connection. Earlier in 2012, he handled a family situation in a way that addressed his needs but totally ignored mine. In fact, that I might be very hurt never even dawned on him. Another situation a few weeks later resulted in him calling me a f***ing bitch over and over. He refused to discuss or apologise, I refused to accept being spoken to with such disrespect and when forced to discuss he said he reserved the right to call me a f***ing bitch if I deserved it. I said we would seperate, he then apologised for his intemperate language but not for the hurt it caused. Currently we are in the middle of a silent row....he bullied our dd and when I called him on it, he reacted aggressively and stormed out of the house.
So I'm in stubborn mode. I have always been the one to open the dialogue on sorting the issue. He will turn it back on me, I will get fed up trying to be heard and the issue remains unresolved. This time, I'm trying to hold out on the fixing. I really want him to care enough to want to sort it out. I'm still waiting......26 days now.
But over the holidays with time to think and ponder and talk to my sisters, we each acknowledge that how we handle confrontation is not always healthy. We all have a tendency to build a wall and hide behind it lest we get hurt. Some families can have a screaming match and all is forgotten five minutes later. We tend to internalise and self-protect.
So of course, with dh being the way he is and me being the way I am, am I sabotaging my own relationship or is my instinct to self-protect a learned behaviour or a true instinct?
I know that online personality tests etc are notoriously unreliable and that only a specialist can diagnose any PD but the Hare test shows my dh as being strongly NPD. He hates being wrong, will turn the blame on me, is emotionally unavailable, is aggressive, curses other lowly humans, believes he is superior, believes himself to be highly intelligent etc etc.
(Thank goodness I am back to work tomorrow as I really have had too much time to think )
Am back to counselling tomorrow evening so will discuss all this with my counsellor, but interested in your thoughts - assuming, of course, that my thoughts make any sense!^
From his reply he doesn't sound like a bully, and he sounds like he cares about all this.
OP, do you still love him? If you do then I think it's worth doing his suggestion of joint marriage guidance. If you don't love him anymore then save yourselves anymore hassle and go your seperate ways.
Be honest with yourself first and foremost.
His reply is all about him. There is no us or we. It really shows where his priorities lie. He feels justified in treating you like that and calling you names because it is all about him.
Read Lundy Bancroft "Why does he do that?"
op, the trouble is, the letter your dh sent you doesn't fit that profile, so while I sympathise, I think that you need to get joint counselling. He doesn't see the situation the way you do, and even if he isn't right in this situation, he may well be right sometimes.
book the counselling
the question is, is his reply truly what he feels or actually an abusive man going through the motions to get his partner back where he wants her.
You see a "reasonable" person reads his reply and think....50:50 your truth, his truth and in the middle lies the actual truth.
Someone like me who has been in an abusive relationship hears a big claxon and sees great big red flags because this is exactly what my NSDH would do to me. turn the tables and make it all m y fault knowing that i would doubt myself sufficiently to apologise or start again.
i don't think you should consider whether he is NPD or any other PD.
Is he abusive? (i second the suggestion to read Lundy Bancroft www.amazon.co.uk/Why-Does-He-That-Controlling/dp/0425191656/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1316686588&sr=1-1)
If he is abusive what do you want to do?
Joint counselling with an abusive man is usually not recommended. But I did it, and am glad, not because it helped but because it revealed him for who he was in front of another person...so i was no-longer blind-sided.
I don't see that you have anything to lose by havng a few sessions of joint counselling and it will at least enable you to talk to each other, albeit initially through the auspices of a neutral third party.
It may be that talking therapy will enable you to re-establish the common ground that once brought you together but, if not, should you conclude that your marriage is over, relationship counselling will hopefully enable you end it on a more civilised note than has been sounding for some time.
Maybe he's gaslighting to make himself look better.
if i didnt speak to dh for week. my marriage would be broken.
your marriage is broken
custy childish reply
"How strange is this, apart from a different preamble and opinion of how this started, I could have written that letter from me to you." yes but you didn't, you haven't made any attempt to communiate, which is my point
" One difference is that in the twelve years or so that we have known each other, you have never, ever said the word sorry, it's always my fault." If you find yourself in constant situations where you are the one saying sorry, it is probably on balance, your fault.
"Regarding the kick off event, I very strongly object to being treated like an unwelcome intruder in my own home" its your home too is it? perhps you wouldn't feel like that if you got involved a bit more - ofcourse, not communicating makes this decidedly difficult
"... and being spoken to like a piece of shit that walked in on someone's shoe," that wasn't my intention, if that is how you had felt at the time that my tone had left you feeling this way, i you had verbalised this it would have given me the opportuiny to say sorry. I am sorry if i hurt your feelings with the intonation in my voice, it was not my intention.
"...it wasn't just the comment, it was the atmosphere when I walked into the house. This is not the first time I reacted that way to the same treatment" by this you are refering to your blow -up behaviour? yes i gree, it has become somewhat normal sadly.
"which does of course depend on your humour at any given time." You cannot call me names and then tell me i am devoid of humour. that isn't funny, its just mean.
" In the past I did decide to offer the olive branch for the sake of all." you may have done once - lets say twice, but i think you will agree, that this is not your norm.
" I am a reactive person..." indeed, loudly "I never walk in looking for trouble..." you also don't seem to look for love, kindnes, gentleness and warmth..." and I most certainly am not a bully..." If i was feeling bullied, it would be my feelings about your behaviours that made it so, not your intention.
" I don't think I am very demanding" really? " and I don't generally interfere in how you guys operate the house, even though there are some things I don't like or agree with." you guys operate the house - ..but you feel like a stranger in the house, perhaps if you got involved in the way things ran, in our lives - if you showed interest beyond yourself, it would show caring, concern and consideration of us, and we would feel loved. I think this is a strategy you should review.
"This time I decided not to apologise for my reaction and use of intemperate language. You decided to use teenage girls schoolyard bullying in an attempt to make me conform to your way of thinking. " You shouted inappropratly at a 13 year old little girl, you big big man. and nows the time you chose to not apologise to ME, ME? apologise to her.
"Of course, I don't bully easily" oh but you do, when you raise your voice and slam doors at a 13 year old, as an adult, i would say you manage to bully ery easily.
"... so when that didn't work you then demand that I sit down and talk to you. I'm sorry for not asking "how high" when you decided I should jump, after six weeks of been sent to Coventry, especially when I have not been refusing to talk to you, that was your game." if you had been seeking reconciliation of an kind, it would have been normal to let the other person know that you were. You did not, so you were not.
"On the wider issue of relationship and intimacy, it was me that suggested counselling and I assumed it would mean for both of us. I don't know the answers so commenting or discussing would probably not be productive, without at least some conversation with a counsellor as to how that should be handled."
"I am a man, I'm not a SOB" that is how you referrred to yourself darling remember?
" I try to be gentle" you try to keep out of things, that's different. " but that does not mean soft and I am just as amendable to a hug as anyone else." then ask for one. make my fucking day.
Hee Hee Cust, can I ask you to write a reply to any letters I get in the future?!
Thank you. Custardo your comments are pretty much spot on!
I will agree to joint counselling. And least then I will know if there is any hope for us.
LOL Hyper I was thinking the same!
Brilliant Custardo. OP, I think he's living in a parallel universe or something. How exasperating.
The point is not who is right or who is wrong or finding out the 'truth.' It's about seeing if the harm can be repaired. Or if you both want it to be. Not sure from what you have said to be honest.
I understand your frustration lovemenot - I have been in a similar situation until recently:
We could not communicate. I would try & talk things though & got no response, or got an angry response.
Days later P would then reply with a 'diatribe'/lecture/rant with his thoughts. Again, no discussion or adult communication.
If he was totally off the mark (as he often was) and I said something like "well lets discuss point x more as we aren't' in agreement" I would then get a defensive rant about how his POV doesn't count, ppor me, what a fucking bitch I am etc etc.
It was all so fucked up by his defensiveness.
He also commented many time how his input/he doesn't count - we have 2 dd's so he is only man in the house. I strongly dispute this - but his total lack of ability to have a discussion about anything ment I had to make decisions myself often.
He then said that he would just agree with me on everything - so he would smile & nod and agree with me, and then go off and do whatever he wanted to do - usually the opposite. He called this parenting! So so so childish.
All the while he built up resentment towards me.
Until he would explode in a verbally violent angry OTT outburst.
Then there would be no talking for days while he felt ashamed and gave me time to 'cool down'.
then grovelling apology.
Then off we would go again.
I constantly tried to talk, to communicate, discuss, make joint decisions. His chip on his shoulder became so vast it drowned him & our relationship.
I'm not saying I'm perfect but I tried and tried and tried. He would NEVER agree to any form of counselling.
I mistakenly thought he had got better and his behaviour has changed over the years re verbal abuse and angry outbursts. Then I realised they hadn't - the behaviour as the same but he was better at managing it - so the out bursts were fewer, but essentially he was still the same.
I got very sick on boxing day - was in bed for 3 days and he was hostile and angry with me about it. I then realised I had no desire to ever be shouted at again, and I told him the relationship was over.
We've hardly spoken since. I'm expecting him at some point, to come over and give me the 'lecture' about what I've done etc etc.
Got to go to doctors. I'll be back soon.
I don't know how you've gone all these days like this - it's miserable for everyone.
Disagree overbythere. If this man is abusive, then there is no repair to the relationship. Whether he is abusive has to be established, first. That involves apportioning blame (not necessarily out loud as an abusive man always believes he is right and will not accept blame).
And don't go for counselling with an abusive man lovemenot. The abuse is likely to get worse, as will the mind-fucking.
Seriously, get the Lundy Bancroft book. You will probably find a few light-bulbs coming on!
I'm trying to figure out why I feel uncomfortable about all the blaming 'him' on this thread.
I dont disagree that his behaviour is unacceptable, calling you a f*****g b***h is not on, nor is slamming doors. And refusing to talk for 40+ days is ridiculous.
So of course, with dh being the way he is and me being the way I am, am I sabotaging my own relationship or is my instinct to self-protect a learned behaviour or a true instinct?
I think what has to be figured out here is whether he is truly an abusive man who wont change.......or, is he at heart someone who has never learned effective communication or how to deal with uncomfortable emotions? Leaving him with patterns which are not helpful and are abusive to the recipient?
OP, I hear that you are frustrated by his behaviours over a long number of years. I understand that this is not acceptable and in your shoes I would not want my DD to witness me condoning anybody treating me like that.
Things cannot continue as they have been. End of.
Good for you that you are getting counselling for yourself......is it helping you to work out what it is that you do want from your relationship?
And is it helping you to figure out whether you are both caught in a toxic relationship dance where you are both not communicating well?
Would he go for counselling alone to figure out why he behaves that way?
Of course, if you are willing to look at yourself and improve how you communicate, but he doesnt, then that is continuing abuse.
Disclaimer I have had letters of 'apology' from my abusive STBXH. I know that there is a huge difference between the self-serving note written to justify the unjustifiable vs a genuine attempt at remorse and change. Only you can judge which he is.
Join the discussion
Please login first.