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Partner has different personality when woken in morning... starting to really bother me.

(152 Posts)

Ok, my partner and I have been together for just over a year, not living together, although he regularly stays over and me and my son both adore him. The problem is his attitude/behaviour when he wakes up. In normal, everyday life, he is the most kind, sweet, generous, gentle and loving man I've ever known. He has been my rock through a hellish year and is an excellent role model for my son. We were friends for years before deciding to take things further, and I've never been happier.

However, when he wakes up in the morning, he becomes a totally different person. A bit of background - he had insomnia for quite a long time and still has very unusual sleeping habits. He struggles to sleep. He has worked irregular shifts for many years, so has never developed a good routine. He's recently been offered a new job which offers slightly more usual hours, so he's trying to gradually train himself to wake up earlier. Anything before 10 is very early to him. It takes a very, very long time for him to wake up. He is unable to speak and doesn't have any memory of what's happened. On the few occasions I've made him get up, he has behaved very aggressively and it's taken at least ten minutes for him to respond and move. He sometimes falls over when he gets up and seems totally disorientated. I, on the other hand, love getting up early and getting things done, so I usually just leave him to get on with it.

There are three incidents in particular which are bothering me.
1 - I felt unwell and asked him to get up in the night as my son was crying. He was unresponsive and seemed totally uncaring, so i shook him to try and get a response. He then elbowed me twice in the stomach before storming out of the house. He only vaguely remembers this happening, but said that he thought I'd hit him when I touched him.
2 - Earlier this week, I was struggling to get my son ready for school. I suffer with depression and had an uncharacteristically bad morning after my son's (useless) father told me I'm a terrible parent. I was upset, so went upstairs and asked for help. He very angrily got up and went to the toilet. While he was in there, I lay on the bed because I was crying. He came back in and grabbed me by the wrist and ankle, telling me that I couldn't ask him to get up and then go back to bed. I was crying on and off for a little while. I discussed his with him yesterday and he didn't even realise that I was crying. It's like he's no longer human...
3 - This morning, his alarm went off at 8.30am, which is the time he's been trying to get out of bed. My son was happily sort of bouncing all over him, trying to get him up. He got angry and shoved him. It looked as though he meant to push him onto the bed because he was hurting him, but his hand caught him quite hard. I made him apologise and then took my son to school. When I came back, he was getting his stuff together to leave. I briefly discussed this with him and asked whether he remembered it. He said that he only had a vague memory of it, apologised and seemed very withdrawn and ashamed.

As he was leaving, I told him that he either sorts himself out or won't be staying overnight again as I wont have anybody treat us that way. He said that he understood and left.

I know it sounds as though I'm making a big deal of nothing, but it is so out of character for him and I don't really know what to do about it. It's as though he's still in a state of semi-consciousness for a long time after waking. Any advice?

TurnipCake Fri 25-Jan-13 15:53:59

Fair enough OP, you know yourself better than anyone else. But as expat said, no more overnight stays, you shouldn't have to tolerate what he's doing (whether there's a medical explanation for it or not - and I say that as a cynical, jaded doctor wink ), and it's up to him to seek medical advice, it's not your job to take him to the doctors or even suggest it, it's his responsibility.

OneMoreGo Fri 25-Jan-13 16:05:43

Have you described his morning behavior to him, clearly and carefully, when he is fully awake and 'with it'? What does he say, how does he react? I would be MORTIFIED if I behaved like that and then had no memory of it, and I would be trotting to the docs sharpish with no encouragement needed, not mumbling ashamedly and brushing it under the carpet. FFS. Agree with everything pictish said. You cannot allow any more overnights til he gets this sorted; the reasons why aren't as important as protecting your son from potential violence.

EuroShagmore Fri 25-Jan-13 16:20:09

Your thread title could describe me, so I expected to come on here and defend your partner, but the aggresive behaviour and lack of recollection is extreme.

I find waking up very difficult. I feel physically awful and mentally muzzy for at least a couple of hours. I am very grumpy and have a short fuse and my husband tries to interract with me as little as possible until I have properly woken up. I don't know how to explain it, but I just feel dreadful. I just need to be left alone until it passes. But I have never physically lashed out at someone or anything. It almost sounds like your partner is sleepwalking if he acting completely out of character and can't remember it later?

sarahseashell Fri 25-Jan-13 16:22:43

its not a different personality, its part of his actual personality. He's been violent towards you. I'd get out of the relationship now sad

MissVerinder Fri 25-Jan-13 16:25:47

Is he able to get up when there's something important to him (trips out with whoever, events etc) going on?

colditz Fri 25-Jan-13 16:27:20

I totally agree with Dahlen

I think you should tell him that if he wants to sleep over he has to go to the doctor and explain he has a sleep disorder with a list of what you actually say he does and not what he thinks he does.

You really can't continue to suffer this abuse. It doesn't matter if its a disorder or not, it matters what you're actually suffering from.

pictish Fri 25-Jan-13 16:33:46

Earlier this week, I was struggling to get my son ready for school. I suffer with depression and had an uncharacteristically bad morning after my son's (useless) father told me I'm a terrible parent. I was upset, so went upstairs and asked for help. He very angrily got up and went to the toilet. While he was in there, I lay on the bed because I was crying. He came back in and grabbed me by the wrist and ankle, telling me that I couldn't ask him to get up and then go back to bed. I was crying on and off for a little while. I discussed his with him yesterday and he didn't even realise that I was crying. It's like he's no longer human...

If he was with it enough to get the hump because he had been woken up, while you lay down, then I cannot see that there can be any medical explanation for that behaviour. It sounds like sheer temper to me!

RooneyMara Fri 25-Jan-13 16:40:17

I think to be out of it to the point of violence would take some extreme physiological issue.

recently, I mean in the last couple of weeks I have had very little sleep, having a new baby and no one around to help. One time I fell asleep for a few minutes, and woke, and could not find the baby - I literally walked round the flat trying to find him, terrified I'd lost him, and then saw that he was on my bed where I'd left him - I just hadn't seen him when I woke and couldn't remember what had happened to him.

I can't even remember when it was exactly but it was caused by having literally almost no sleep at all, for several nights. I still get almost no sleep at all, but I haven't had an episode like that again - it is very very rare for me.

For someone to have this sort of experience on a regular basis would suggest, to me, that there's something fairly wrong somewhere.

PeppermintPasty Fri 25-Jan-13 16:40:57

Yes, I agree. It all sounds a bit fishy to me, (his behaviour that is), but I am happy to be proved wrong if it is medical.

PeppermintPasty Fri 25-Jan-13 16:42:02

That was in agreement with Pictish, slow typing here...

RooneyMara Fri 25-Jan-13 16:43:50

I'm sorry OP but I don't think you should stay with this person. Whether he is conscious of it or not I think he is abusive.

Could it be he has some kind of psychiatric disorder?

TheLightPassenger Fri 25-Jan-13 16:54:02

yes, the incident that pictish highlighted did make me hmm about it being a grogginess on waking issue. Agree with pictish and expat - whatever the reason for his behaviour, no more sleepovers until he has sorted himself out, as you need to keep yourself and your child safe.

FairPhyllis Fri 25-Jan-13 18:19:35

Well you've done the right thing by saying no more staying over until this is sorted.

If this is a genuinely non-abusive situation then it is well and beyond not being a morning person. I can be extremely bad-tempered in the morning, but mostly it means I just want to avoid having conversations until I am a bit more together. So he might genuinely have a sleep disorder, but then he might also have a sleep disorder on top of being abusive, which is making the mask slip a little. So even a doctor saying, yes, xyz is wrong with you, wouldn't necessarily rule out that possibility for me.

I think you do need to take quite seriously the possibility that he is abusive and keep an eye on whether he is properly horrified by his actions, and whether he takes the initiative to sort it out.

But to be honest, it's so hard to detect an abusive partner in the early stages of a relationship that even finding myself entertaining the possibility that someone might be abusive would probably be enough for me to end a relationship, especially if there were DC to think of. The stakes are too high for me to take that risk, personally.

ladyWordy Fri 25-Jan-13 19:13:46


No, you aren't complaining about nothing. He elbows you in the stomach, storms out of the house ... and then tells you he doesn't remember it. So did he sleepwalk out of the house, is that what he's trying to say. And the elbowing, how was it justified because he thought you'd hit him?

And what about your lying there crying in misery a few days ago. You've asked for help in desperation, he grumbles and then visits the loo. Unless he sleepwalks to the loo we can now assume he's awake.

So he's then apparently furious with you for getting him up and going back to bed.? Apparently he doesn't care that you're desperately miserable, crying - it's all about his discomfort, and he's so angry he grabs you by the wrist and ankle. I imagine this was rather a shock. I wonder if you really think this is acceptable, or justifiable because of sleep loss, or because he said he 'didn't realise you were crying' (which makes no difference at all).

Now I can see he has a problem with sleep and waking, but these two incidents did not take place during sleep or in the few moments after he's woken.

One more thing: it's fair to say Stars, that you can know someone as a friend for many years, trust and even love them.... yet you don't know everything about them until you become close. Only then do you see what they're like as a partner ( and it can, sometimes, be a very sad shock.)

northeastofeden Fri 25-Jan-13 19:30:06

OP I have a similar problem to your DP, and whilst I am not violent I am (told) I can be very rude if woken unexpectedly and I genuinely have no recollection of this at all, sometimes I can have a whole conversation and not remember any of it. Also you can be asleep even if you are walking around with your eyes open - I have done it and I have seen it happen as well, it is very weird! I rarely even swear day to day and I don't think my DH would suggest I am an abusive person, although of course you'd have to ask him!
The things I have found help most are a regular sleep routine, minimising stress wherever possible and I also have a lumie (like the poster further up thread), it makes the biggest difference of everything, although it wakes DH up way before me!! I also take vit D. I would go and see a sleep specialist. I also get night terrors on a fairly regular basis.

Hissy Fri 25-Jan-13 19:37:29

He shoved your son?


You have been with this guy about a year. you have NO idea who he is, but he's starting to show you. FWIW, an abuser can go about 2 years before their true colours show... you haven't even had that.

You can't live with this and you can't inflict this on your son.

End the sleep overs. End the relationship. Put your son first and show him that NO man EVER has the right to shove him. EVER.

Incidentally , how much did he apologise profusely for elbowing you ON PURPOSE, and shoving your son? hmm

I'm certainly no pushover and would happily walk away if I suspected this was more sinister or he had no desire to sort it out.

remember these words, you are going to need them.

Hissy Fri 25-Jan-13 19:46:11

To those who are saying this is abusive behaviour, I understand why you're saying that and it's difficult for me to really get things across over the internet, but that's definitely not the problem. i've been in... non-ideal relationships before and this isn't one of them.

So, you have a history of abusive partners, your ex is still abusing you by calling you a poor parent, you are depressed and have not been able to shake him and his legacy off.

Have you done the Freedom Programme? The one that teaches you what to look for and what to expect from a normal relationship?

Let me tell you, this guy is pretending to be nice, but it's slipping. You had to make him apologise.

You are terrified that it IS another abuser and are looking for any excuse for him to be able to treat you and your son like this. S'alright, we've all done that, but it doesn't change the fact that we are being treated badly, and our children are learning from it.

Let me tell you that there IS no excuse and if he IS elbowing you now, and clipping your son and having to be made to apologise, he is NOT a partner to stay with. You CAN do better, but only by demanding better.

If he's an abuser, it's his problem to fix (he won't) it has no reflection on you at all. Thing is, if you have been abused in the past, you will be abused again most likely, as you will still have immense vulnerability, that these people home in on, and you won't have the boundaries to shake them off. The only way you can stop this is to face it, address it and learn to reject it.

You have not healed from your previous abuse. You are at great risk from this man. As is your son.

RooneyMara Fri 25-Jan-13 20:45:36

Please don't let him move in with you. Your son has no one to prevent this and protect him, only you and you'll be letting him down big time if you allow this bloke to be part of the household.

He's patently injuring you both and you're going to let him move in? Whatever his reasons - whether or not he means to do it - it's happening, repeatedly, and your JOB as a parent is to stop it from happening to your son.

So sorry to be blunt, I just wish people had been this blunt with me a year ago when I was getting involved with a person who was no good for us.

Helltotheno Fri 25-Jan-13 21:24:11

*He shoved your son?


This 100%.

Thumbwitch Fri 25-Jan-13 22:08:47

Ladywordy - DH pretty much sleepwalks to the loo and back to bed. He isn't really awake at this point and can get pretty snarky if I try to interact with him in any way - it is possible that the OP's DP was still more than half asleep when he got back to the bedroom.

dequoisagitil Fri 25-Jan-13 22:24:12

You MUST put your ds first.

Do not expose him further to this man's hideous behaviour.

I could not give a good fuck as to the whys and wherefores of what causes your bloke to behave like this. What he does is wrong. The end. The outcome of violence and intimidation is too damaging to worry about whether he "can help it". The results are what matter.

You may maintain a relationship, but for your child's sake, do not live together until the man is safe to be with, whatever the time.

hestonbloomingdale Fri 25-Jan-13 22:48:30

Its evidently a medical issue, you can either:

a) help and support him through it like a person in a normal loving relationship.
b) take the advice from a bunch of people who evidently have their own issues from current or previous relationships and throw him out to deal with on his own.

I know which I would do.

Given that you have stated that you do not believe that there is not a safety issue for your ds, trust your instincts.

dequoisagitil Fri 25-Jan-13 22:50:09

Shoving a small child is a safety issue!

Are we invaded by MRAs tonight or something?! hmm

hestonbloomingdale Fri 25-Jan-13 22:50:21

Correction.. you do not believe that there is a safety issue.

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