Note: Mumsnetters don't necessarily have the qualifications or experience to offer relationships counselling or to provide help in cases of domestic violence. Mumsnet can't be held responsible for any advice given on the site. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

My half asleep DH isn't a very nice person.

(23 Posts)

Last night DS1 woke up & came in our bed (he's 3). He was just wide awake & wouldn't shut up. DH was getting progressively more cross with him & eventually sort of grabbed him in a bear hug & shouted at him, not loudly but I think it frightened DS1 as he rushed over to me crying (although had already cried before this).

When I asked DH about it this morning he denies all knowledge & says he doesn't remember.

The other week when feeding DS2 (4 months) he screamed 'shut the fuck up' at him. When I confronted him about it he said that he wasn't really awake & was on auto-pilot.

This is twice this has happened recently & I just don't know what to do, if he's not awake properly how can I get him to change his behaviour?

CailinDana Tue 19-Feb-13 07:54:01

Do you believe him that he wasn't really awake?

Well I suppose I have to as I don't really want to think about the alternative, although I know we all go a bit nuts when sleep deprived.

CailinDana Tue 19-Feb-13 07:59:59

What's he like otherwise? Is he ever aggressive or threatening?

Letsmakecookies Tue 19-Feb-13 08:01:51

Being half asleep is no excuse for shouting and swearing. Your DH is just as responsible for his own behaviour whether tired or not. I would be worried that your DH has a lot of anger inside and his guard is down when sleepy. How many mothers scream shut the fuck up at a 4 month old or even 3 year old when they are up for the umpteenth time that night (ok remembering what infants and getting up too often is like, you might mutter it under your breath after a week solid of being awake, but not out of agressiveness and anger)? A 3 year old who is awake shouldn't be expected to 'shut up' either, if you want him to sleep he needs to be parented and put back to bed, although I suspect the tense nature of your words is more due to worry about DH than upset about DS (and totally normal 3 year old behaviour).

Letsmakecookies Tue 19-Feb-13 08:03:55

I wasn't suggested you shouted at your children, above, just suggesting that your DH's reaction is not normal, as I can't imagine screaming and frightening my children and for various reasons I have never had another adult support me with night waking.

No he's totally not aggressive towards any of us normally. It does bother me, but not to LTB point.

Branleuse Tue 19-Feb-13 08:06:45

its pretty normal to be a miserable bastard if woken in the middle of the night surely?
Im like a bear with a sore head.

CailinDana Tue 19-Feb-13 08:07:24

Did he apologise for his behaviour? And what has he said he is going to do about it?

evertonmint Tue 19-Feb-13 08:08:22

Are these the only concerns you have? If so, I would be tempted to leave it for a while and see if it gets worse. Being woken at a particular point in your sleep cycle can be awful. DH and I suffer badly with this, particularly at the moment - I'm ill do sleeping badly and DH is stressed with work so sleeping badly - and have been short with our children several times in the night and also physically moved them away if they're kicking etc. TBH if they are kicking us then I don't see a problem in stopping them - would never tolerate that in the day. We are trying to be better about it as we're probably a bit too cross but our 4yo DS understands why we get cross if he is messing around in our bed and is getting a bit better. Been short with then, but never sworn at them though hmm and I would be angry about that.

If you have broader concerns then listen to them and talk through then, but if it is just a couple of episodes of shouty grumpiness in the night it may not be a huge problem, even if not exactly the best parenting.

CabbageLeaves Tue 19-Feb-13 08:13:52

I used to do on-call for a whole hospital. I might get to my hospital bedroom at 3am having started at 8:30am previous day...then get called out a couple of times before getting head down at 5am to sleep. Up at 7am to start new day

(I was new mum not getting a lot of quality sleep at home either)

So I was tired. I felt a miserable bastard. If I had screamed shut the fuck up at my patients I'd have lost my job.

My point is, we all can choose our behaviour. We choose the behaviour we think we can get away with. He's chosen. It's up to you to accept or not. Don't accept excuses.

Branleuse Tue 19-Feb-13 08:18:11

sure its different at work and there you'd have to sleep with one eye open but at home occasionally its forgivable if once in a while you're snappy when woken unexpectedly? you're less on your guard

Branleuse Tue 19-Feb-13 08:19:13

and if you were in hospital and a patient had climbed in with you you might scream at them

CabbageLeaves Tue 19-Feb-13 08:27:11

Screaming shut the fuck up does not equal 'snappy' in my world. But it does depend on individuals tolerance of behaviour. I would never scream that at a child...some might regardless of situation

I think I'd scream if a stranger got into my bed wherever I was. At home my DC climb into my bed all the time and again I wouldn't be screaming STFU at them, even the night after an on call. You're accepting behaviour and making excuses. Snappy is understandable. STFU is not, IMO

Letsmakecookies Tue 19-Feb-13 08:29:46

Really screaming at a crying 3 year old is ok if you are a big intimidating adult, or screaming at a 4 month old? I agree with cabbage that we can all choose our behaviour and decide whether or not to behave like that.

QuickLookBusy Tue 19-Feb-13 08:35:12

I'd be inclined to make him apologise to Ds. You're son will remember his dad's behaviour and he needs to explain to him that he's very sorry and it won't happen again.

I'd also tell your H that you're very upset by these two incidents and worried what he'll do next. Hopefully that will make him rethink how his behaviour, even whilst he's half asleep. I agree with posters saying being half asleep is no excuse. Millions of parents cope with interrupted sleep without yelling at or frightening their dc.

Branleuse Tue 19-Feb-13 08:35:53

no its not ok but i don't know if its worthy of hysteria if its a one off.

QuickLookBusy Tue 19-Feb-13 08:36:02

how

Gentleness Tue 19-Feb-13 08:49:32

Being very sleep deprived myself, I can totally understand the temptation to scream! I can imagine it happening if I didn't keep on top of the way I felt in other ways and in fact, as I did end up screaming a couple of times, citalopram was necessary for me. Also, I find it SIGNIFICANTLY worse when nights are inconsistent. Sleeping pattern of 4 hrs a night in 3 blocks I can get used to. The same after 2 or 3 good nights is a real killer.

Tbh I'd be worried for your husband and looking at a big pattern before seeing him as a bad guy.

MajaBiene Tue 19-Feb-13 08:54:17

Is your husband actually sleep deprived?

We have both been very sleep deprived, and I am irritable and grumpy, but I have never frightened my children or sworn at my baby. That's not normal.

I think it's the fact that it's so out of character for him that bothers me, & the lack of control he seems to be exhibiting. I'm definitely sleep deprived but have never spoken to either of them like that ever. He is genuinely mortified about what happened.

DS1 was definitely a bit 'off' with him this morning, until I made DH approach him (normally DS1 bounces up to him happily), so he obviously was a bit unsure about him (fine now though).

I wouldn't act on these 2 incidents alone but will be worried if a regular pattern of behaviour like this appears.

Dahlen Tue 19-Feb-13 10:21:03

I think you're adopting a sensible approach. If society took the view that all parents who have shouted and/or sworn at their children in the throes of sleep deprivation should have their children removed, not a lot of people would be left living with their parents. Like so much in life, you can't look at isolated incidents, you have to look at the overall pattern. If he is an otherwise calm, steady and loving husband and father, I wouldn't over-react, especially as he's not blaming your DC for provoking him and is mortified by his behaviour.

That said, I would make it clear that the behaviour was unacceptable, that I would be watching for more, and that being kicked out of the family home would certainly be an option if such behaviour becomes a pattern.

Mumsyblouse Tue 19-Feb-13 10:23:48

I have certainly shouted once or twice 'for god's sake, stop crying' or whatever in the middle of the night when I was very stressed and upset. However, I was extremely sorry that I did that and made a massive effort not to shout again at a tiny baby as I knew it was wrong. I would be concerned by all this excuse making- and would be wanting to have a conversation along the lines of 'your stress levels are out of control, we are all tired, but you need to step away if you feel cross'. My husband would point out if he thought I'd crossed a line (hopefully rarely but it does happen) and I think that's very important, it brings you back to yourself and makes you realise that you have really lost control (perhaps some people never lose it with screaming babies or toddlers but I have a couple of times).

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now