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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?

expatinscotland Fri 01-Feb-13 10:01:57

Funny that, he gets up no problem for work.

shrinkingnora Fri 01-Feb-13 18:33:35

Sioda, I can't state whether this is abuse or not but I can state that DH has told me he thinks he is being hurt when he is gently shaken awake. He describes it as being like a waking dream (we've had all sorts of interesting discussions since this thread was started). He says it is extrememly vivid and at the time he is convinced that he is awake and that it is only when he wakes up that extra 'layer' that he has any idea that he wasn't and sometimes even these lines are blurry.

And Modre said she has punched her DH in the head before mentioning that the cat was the last straw!

I do understand what you are saying about looking for differences, but I can't see where the OP says it never happens when anyone else wakes him and DH has lashed out at me because he thought I hit him. He would NOT do this when awake and just because he does it in this state does not mean that he would. I reckon I could punch him square in the nose during the day and he wouldn't hit me back. Although he might be a bit hmm

I really think I could write a series of statements like the OP's and it would sound like I was being emotionally and physically abused.

Obviously there are things here that look abusive from one angle and like a sleep disorder from another. OP has not stated whether he is getting help or not and has also said that he is coping with the early mornings 'far better than [she] expected' not that he gets up with no problem for work. BUT I am not in the business of trying to persuade people that abuse is fine if we pretend it's a sleep disorder - I just wanted to share my experiences of living with a partners sleep disorder for 13 years in the hope that he isn't abusing her. I really hope I haven't come across as one of these people who try to make everything lovely by ignoring the warnings and just hoping it's all ok really (like my mum has about her sister's marriage).

I hope that both sets of responses on this thread are helping people and that OP chooses the correct response for her situation. Only she knows which is the right way to go. Good luck OP, I sincerely hope you get the help you need in whatever form is right for you.

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