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How do i work out whether my relationship is ok ...

(35 Posts)
Cairngorms Tue 19-Mar-13 11:34:33

... or not?

DH and I have been together for a long time, and while many things are positive, some are not. In the main, these have been worse in the past, and are not as bad at the moment, although we are currently experiencing a lot of stress and some of the issues are appearing again. The more extreme moments and conversations are (mostly?) in the distant past.
How do I figure out whether the things I am not comfortable with are part of the give&take of a relationship (especially as stressed)? or my fault ('I create the problems')? or unacceptable / abusive?
And how do I understand what to do about that?

I've been reading / lurking on GettingBig's threads - with enormous admiration - and while I do not experience the things she does, and I am appalled that she does, I do wonder how my situation would appear to an outsider.

Thank you!

sallyfromthealley Tue 19-Mar-13 14:20:17

Can you give us an actual example? It's hard to understand as you are describing things generally.

Cairngorms Tue 19-Mar-13 14:57:21

Sally, I feel uncomfortable to do so, in case it is too identifiable. I phrased my initial question as "how can I judge whether it's ok?" because I didn't really want to post details.
In general, he can loose his temper over something I say or do, and I generally don't know what it was or (if I can see the cause) why it was such a problem. Whether I say anything or nothing, it escalates quickly to red-faced shouting and physical posturing. It will be my fault. He will - with luck - leave, return at some point and it will likely simmer for hours. He'll then be stoney for days. I try not to do or say anything to cause him upset. Sometimes some of his anger is just wrong - so if he's angry he will include the fact that he's not had any time at the weekend without children, even if that's not the case. If I think of the last three outbursts, the causes feel so unreasonable / out-of-proportion, that I'm embarrassed to post them.
I have in the past also hoped that he would do more of the housework and childcare (including stuff I'd just expect anyone to do for themselves), but he is a bit better at that now and I am SAHM now, with much more time, so it's less of an issue.
Things are normally fine. I think my issues are his angry outbursts, how his long hours and high income dictate my role, and that I don't often feel that he thinks well of me.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 19-Mar-13 15:13:16

"I try not to do or say anything to cause him upset"

Do you understand that your behaviour has become controlled because of this? You should be able to say or do anything you like within your own home and your own family. You cannnot do that. This is wrong

"I have in the past also hoped that he would do more of the housework "

Hoping achieves nothing. While he has you scared to speak out, constantly apologising, constantly wondering what you did to deserve another unreasonable row... he has no need to change anything. He wins. This is wrong

"I am SAHM now, with much more time, so it's less of an issue. "

You mean, fed up with the place being a mess, you had to give up a job, become financially dependent on him and take on the role of skivvy. Of course it's less of an issue now. Your life changed 100% and his nothing at all ... hmm This is wrong

He does not think well of you. If a stranger walked into your home this afternoon and subjected you to one of these outbursts, would you think that stranger was a nice person, that they loved you and thought well of you.... or would you be calling the police and having them forcibly removed?

Cairngorms Tue 19-Mar-13 16:10:04

Cogito Can you talk me through this, please?

You should be able to say or do anything you like That's not actually the case, is it? I mean, I wouldn't choose to say anything nasty to someone, in my home or not. He would say that I am winding him up / saying unacceptable things / "why do you think you can say such a nasty thing now?" Where do the boundaries lie? How do i know that I am not at fault causing him such upset with my selfish behaviour? (<- this is the crux of a lot of my uncertainty).

Hoping achieves nothing. OK, so I asked, I didn't just quietly hope. Sometimes he tells me that I'm unreasonable, and sometimes he says he'll do something, though it often doesn't get done (current stand-off regarding a specific weekly chore, which he says he'll do, doesn't do, I don't do because he said he'd do it, doesn't get done. If I commented on it or reminded him I fear he'd be cross). OTOH, Pre-children he would tell me he'd wash up, but not do so for days on end. Now he will either do it while I put the children to bed, or vice versa.

you had to give up a job I didn't really care about the mess. I gave up my career in order to support one of our children who has a complex condition. We still have a cleaner/ironer (yes, that's nice. He'd insist on it anyway as I don't clean well enough). His life became a bit easier. The house is still untidy. I don't mind spending a bit more of my daytime doing a bit more of the housework than him. It's ok at the moment (children all in school most of the time). It wouldn't be ok if I returned to work, which is an issue for me. This is a pattern modelled by his parents.

tessa6 Tue 19-Mar-13 16:25:37

You sound afraid of him. Is your relationship equal? If you are embarrassed to post some of the details this is really really not a good sign. He clearly has a temper problem at the very least. In answer to your original question, get a book called Too Good to Leave Too Bad to Stay by Mira Kirshenbaum.

The way many people work out whether their relationship is healthy or optimal is by comparing it to others, sometimes even by having an affair. This normally causes more grief than it is worth. But if you are even thinking it is questionable, then I bet you it is at the very least problematic. There's also a few books by Lundy Bancroft worth getting too.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 19-Mar-13 17:13:30

"ou should be able to say or do anything you like That's not actually the case, is it?"

In a loving relationship you should be able to say anything at all and not be verbally abused in return. In a loving relationship, even if one party is angry or provocative, the other should be able to say 'we'll talk later when you're calmer'... not yell in their face.

He - Mr Lord Almighty - is the only one deciding what is 'nasty' at the moment whereas you are having to second-guess everything that comes out of your mouth on the basis of 'will he get cross if I say this?'. It's just wrong.

You remind him about the housework and he blows up .... so you stop reminding. You 'don't clean well enough'... who decided that one I wonder?... so you're spending more and more of your day cleaning, despite paying someone else.

He's got you running around after him, you are being controlled and I don't think you even see it. These parents of his... wouldn't be asian origin would they?

Cairngorms, I had to leave the thread to call solicitors, children etc. Have now read many but not all of your posts. You sound similar to me. Am i just overreacting? If I wait it'll get better, for sure. This is just a bad patch. He's often nice too.
That you have to think like this to yourself to sort of justify his behaviour is what I now know (it's the hindsight bit that's so fucking handy. sorry about swearing) means that HE IS WRONG. AND YOU ARE RIGHT.
I bet you are scared of when he's going to blow up next, because you DON'T KNOW what will cause it. It could be slightly burnt dinner, or just something he's thought of...I mean, whatever, but you will not guess until he goes boom.

My psychologist friend explained to me: apart from normal things, the house is most likely untidy because you can't focus because YOU ARE LIVING IN A WARZONE. maybe I felt she exaggerated, but you know. It's a minefield, can blow up at anytime. A large portion of your brain is dealing with that, and the children and just ticking over.
Please excuse my capital letters.

Also he calls you selfish, which I find hard to believe, despite not knowing you in real life. I bet he is the selfish one. Yes, he works. BUt he doesn't want you to. Yes, he supports you, but I can bet this is pointed out as something you should be really grateful for.
Even if none of my guesses are right. He is wrong . YOU are right. If there is threatening words and threatening posturing and so forth, the police actually takes it very seriously, and so do the CHildren's services. You are in the right in their eyes. YOu can be sure of that.

AnyFucker Tue 19-Mar-13 17:31:32

OP, you are walking on eggshells because you are afraid of his reaction

he is controlling you by fear, and by gaslighting you (google gaslighting if you haven't heard of it)

you are modifying your behaviour so he doesn't use emotional abuse to bring you back into line

you are constantly questioning yourself, you have no peace of mind

peace of mind is priceless and cannot be worked on by you alone....he either instils it or he doesn't

your have 2 options

1) turn into a Stepford wife, accept all his criticism and become a cowed shadow of a woman living through the eyes of an inadequate man

2) decide this is not for you, and take steps to end your relationship

There is no middle ground, I am afraid, unless he went for very lengthy and intensive counselling to examine his own insecurities and inadequacies. He will never agree to that....bringing us back to point 2)

Please, Corgito puts it a whole lot better than me. The posturing may escalate. The children suffer from this, and I had it put to me that my boys may repeat what their father has been doing. If you feel that should your boys (if you have any) behave to anyone like their father is behaving to you, you would be very angry and disappointed in them, then that says it all really.
I will do anything I can to prevent them, and am aware I may be to late for it.

I'm certainly not trying to put more guilt on you. At all. But you know in your heart he is so wrong, it's just he has in fact brainwashed you to wonder what is wrong with you. There is nothing at all wrong with you. You are not selfish or such an annoying person that it's your fault he gets cross. He is just saying that. You are just a regular person, no angel, a human. And he is behaving in an unacceptable manner. I repeat: police and children's services are on your side.

Cairngorms Tue 19-Mar-13 18:05:53

turbochildren sad, but thank you.

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