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Start / warning signs of an abusive relationship?(54 Posts)
I am after some advice because I am not sure if I am being overly sensitive or if I should be genuinely concerned about my situation.
I am currently 8 months pregnant and would say that 99% of the time things are fine between myself & DP. He has been great throughout the
pregnancy, very supportive. And yet...I find myself concerned at what I view as signs of very controlling behaviour.
The main issue is DP's obsession with certain medical issues related to my pregnancy. He is extremely mistrustful of health professionals and this stems from the death of his parents a few years ago who both died after battling various illnesses for a while. He blames the doctors for this and as a result is very 'anti' health authorities, medical treatments etc. I should point out that his parents died abroad in his birth country and not the UK.
He has declared that our baby will not have any vaccinations under any circumstances as they are dangerous and bombards me daily with anti-vac e-mails, videos, blogs etc while I am at work and has also brought home books. He gets absolutely furious if I even suggest that that the baby should be immunized against anything and starts shouting. He has decreed that the baby will not have a Vit K injection (it is poisonous) and had a huge melt-down last month when I had a glucose intolerance test because Lucozade is 'harmful'. He does not like me visiting the mid-wife because, to quote a text he sent me yesterday, 'she might want to do some kind of experiment with you and give you medication that will harm you'. He became agitated when I started discussing pain relief during our NCT class and insists I will not need to take anything.
When I try to talk rationally, try to meet him halfway etc he just becomes even more agitated and starts shouting over me. i cannot take the stress and so end up leaving the room. These arguments (well I say arguments - I no longer talk back so it is just his rants ) occur about once a month. Afterwards I get the silent treatment for a few days but during this time he will continue to cook meals for me, do the housework, shopping, give me massages etc but it is all done with barely concealed anger. He is also complete hypochondriac and over-reacts every time he has a slight illness - e.g. he wanted to call out an ambulance when he had a pain in his foot a couple of months ago.
So this week he has been in a terrible mood since Monday. I had no idea why and kept asking what was wrong. Finally this morning he had a massive outburst and started shouting that I don't listen to him when he gives me advice about the baby and it's health and I am shutting him out. It turned out he was angry that I went to an Aqua Natal class on Monday because I could have gotten a cold after leaving the pool (he didn't mention anything about not wanting me to go) and yesterday I got caught in the rain when coming home from work which is another sign I do not care about him or the baby's health because I should not have been walking about in that weather!!. He aggressively demanded I should not go to work or to my mid-wife's appointment today as it was too cold to leave the house. The shouting went on for 15 mins while I sat on the bed bewildered and in tears as he left for work. I ended up calling in sick and re-arranging my MW appointment as I can't cope with this bullying.
He called mid morning and when he learnt I stayed at home he suddenly became much brighter and sounded more like his old self. This is what worries me. He is now being nice to me because I'm doing what he ordered me to do. I can see this pattern continuing: he gets angry for an unspecified reason and subjects me to silent treatment for days, he finally admits (shouts) what the problem is. The anger continues until I cave and do what he wants. I can only envisage things getting worse once the baby arrives. I found myself day dreaming this morning about having the baby, packing my bags and leaving to go to South America where some of my family live. And yet...I think in so many ways he will be a fantastic dad, he is so affectionate when he is behaving 'normally' and already shows so much love towards the unborn baby. I sit looking at the nursery and the furniture he has painstainkingly put together and consider the fact that in all non-medical matters he completely defers to whatever I want e.g. he had a strong preference for 2 baby names which i over-ruled and he accepted it and said he would be happy with whatever I choose as he just wants me to be happy. He always calls and asks permission before going out with friends in case I want him to come home and need him for anything, turned down an invite to the stag do of a good friend in case I got upset, does more or less everything around the house at the moment on top of this job. I just do not know how to handle these periodic outbursts and worry that the 'nice' behaviour is part of a larger manipulative agenda.
Thanks for reading if you got this far, i just needed to get this off my chest.
And you need to be very careful about "natural", stuff labelled this way is often either less (or not) effective or riskier or both.
Why do you "know" you couldn't manage on your own?
And besides "not read it" is crap. He was mad when you were doing things he didn't want you to do and punishing you for it without speaking to you. And you have read a lot of his stuff... He's talking rubbish, saying something to placate you.
And his "health anxiety" is selective; only about you and baby and only in relation to health issues he selects that seem to largely be about you going out of the house and socialising without him or having control over your own body... Scary...
You're afraid to be without him which is worrying.
Did he agree to seek professional help, though, OP?
I was very anxious about all my babies. I had DS1 at the time when the MMR scare was at its height. It wasn't Dr Wakefield's - now discredited - research that was worrying me, it was the wealth of articles in the press at the time about people's negative experiences of MMR (people blame Wakefield for the whole scare but I had never heard of him till years later). I felt truly terrified.
I remember at one point realising that I was imagining the Doctors and Nurses as being wicked villains stalking my baby with syringes full of poison, rather than educated health professionals trying to help, which is what they are. It came as a shock to me to realise how my anxious mind had distorted reality and was starting to portray these good helpful people as somehow evil.
I fretted over whether to get single vaccines but didn't know where to go to get them, DH was adamant that the whole thing was silly to worry about and in the end DS1 had the MMR and was fine.
The difference here was that although I was terribly anxious, I took my DH's views on board. I recognised that I was over-anxious and welcomed the views of someone who was a bit more rational.
What worries me is your DH is clearly over-anxious but thinks HE is the rational one. I think they say that the difference between neurosis and mental illness is insight. That is: the neurotic knows they are being silly, the person suffering from an actual mental illness thinks they are being perfectly rational. This is the massive warning sign for me in your situation.
It sounds like he is deeply traumatised by the death of his parents and is trying to 'protect' you. However, he is alienating you in the process, which is not good. I think he probably needs professional counselling. Would he be open to that?
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