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I would love your opinion on my very tricky relationship...

(89 Posts)
Loveday44 Sun 30-Jun-13 08:35:28

My husband and I were together and happy for 11 years, we lived & worked together, travelled lots and were hardly separate. We had 2 beautiful children in the past 3 years... now aged 1 and 3 and everything changed after the 2nd child’s birth.

I had a c section and had a difficult birth so I probably had baby blues which I feel guilty about as my not being my strong capable self probably started things going wrong. We just started living in a new place (we knew it well, but were away from both sides of the family). I wanted to stay closer to my parents for the first year but my husband dislikes them intensely and feels they are too intrusive so I agreed with him and decided to set up a new family life in a new place).

Throughout the first year after our 2nd child was born my husband started to behave in a strange way which may be because I was feeling down and overwhelmed. We work from home and share 2 businesses together. After the birth of my second child he told me he was the man and should do all the work, and as the mother I would do all the childcare & housework. I felt this was a strange approach and not typical of my husband as the business depended on both our skills to succeed and he had been quite helpful and involved with our first child in her first year.

I told him I thought it made more sense if we shared all tasks - children, work and chores more evenly like we always had done eg I work 2 mornings a week and deal with the children every afternoon and he would work 3 mornings and every afternoon and take the girls 2 mornings a week, however he did not think this was the way to go and I was a ”reluctant mother” to suggest this.

I thought I would avoid conflict and agreed to do the majority of the childcare, house chores and kept up with my work in the evening when the children slept. I made new friends, networked in our new pretty village and was happy outside the house (I didn’t enjoy the chores particularly but on with the chores) however at home my husband started getting nasty and I always felt down at home.

The criticism never ceased. Every time I did a shopping spree with both children, it was not big enough, when I cooked dinner it was not varied enough and always boring, if I cleaned the house and did a wash load every day with all the kids dirty clothes I had an “ocd mental illness”, if I allowed the children to watch TV whilst I cooked dinner he would say children should not watch TV and I was not a capable mum but a reluctant mum to allow this.

When the older child started going to preschool, there were rainy cold days when I asked him to keep the baby to avoid going out into the cold and he said I was being a reluctant mum not taking them both and letting him work. Also he said I should stay out of the house for a long as possible so I would roam around swing parks and cafes and go home at 12. He would then say how early it was and I was interrupting him when I opened his office door to say hi. I started staying out at friends houses in the afternoons to give him more peace to work. I did have a tough time juggling the 2 children under 2, doing all the house chores, networking in our new community, finding out about the schools, etc but I was happy and positive and happy outside the house. Every time I would get criticised and therefore I would feel down.

We saw a counsellor to try and help our relationship but I did not discuss my husband’s attitude, instead we blamed me and the difficult birth, so we focussed on this in our sessions-which did not really help. I never mentioned his mental and physical abusive nature my husband had. I am not sure why. Maybe it was because we were always together for the sessions, maybe I did not realise and want to admit there was a problem. So I blamed myself and my PND for the situation and it got worse.

When I was really feeling low and approached my husband and discussed topics he did not want to discuss he would sometimes hit me, put a pillow to my face and verbally abuse me. Everything I did was wrong. He always had an anger problem but because we were happy and never argued in the past 12 years of our relationship it rarely came out previously.

So to avoid confrontation I continued doing most childcare, house work, cooking etc and when the children slept I would do work as he was not doing my tasks in the business and it was beginning to suffer.

12 Months went by like this, until I some good friends I had made over the year began commenting. I slowly opened up and they were quite furious with the situation and apparently I was the opposite of an “incapable, reluctant mum”. I slowly got my confidence back and became strong and I realised the situation could not be right.

Many instances, such as my husband getting very angry with the children and shaking them on 2 occasions, my father visiting, friends commenting and then everything fell into place I realised I wasn’t the only one to blame. I took a 2 week break and went to my parents and felt the best I have in months. I was happy, I travelled easily and dealt with both children easily as I was so used to being alone. I did not realise I was not only living like a single mum but I had been dealing with lots of other criticism on top.

Now my “baby” is soon 2, my husband has accepted his behaviour was completely inappropriate and has started to help and get involved. He still gets angry and loses his temper but is seeing an anger management specialist (I am not sure it is helping as he seemed to be justifying his anger after a session the other day)

We have so much positive history together in the past before the children were born, it seems silly to let it go. I am happy to work on our relationship and we have been trying for 3 months but it feels futile. I know that his “help” and “involvement” is because he feels he should not because he wants to.

Has the relationship ended? Can I ever love him again? Will he ever respect me?

springytats Sun 30-Jun-13 15:25:37

Delete your internet history, rather. Sorry x

HenWithAttitude Sun 30-Jun-13 15:29:57

Do your children a favour and leave. They deserve to grow up in a happy home.

antimatter Sun 30-Jun-13 15:33:02

I really thought I was to blame until recently.Our older child saying "daddy angry" and "daddy hit mummy" helped me address these issues in the open.
so it is embedded in your DC memories
do you want this to become a constant part of their childhood?

you said - we have been trying for 3 months but it feels futile.

when did your child mentioned the hitting?
when did your H hit you last?

Loveday44 Sun 30-Jun-13 16:58:04

I was hit last 4 weeks ago with a broom as I was bent down clearing the floor - I had just returned back after a couple of weeks break. The truth is DH was trying hard and I couldn't find any love to return so he was frustrated. I couldn't click back to the sweet loving wife I once was. The hitting hasn't happened since. He is still trying hard as I am close to leaving and he knows this but it still feels unreal.

Tweasels Sun 30-Jun-13 17:10:23

Oh my goodness.

Please don't think any of this is normal or acceptable.

You need to get out. Those good times mean nothing, all the times he is nice to you is part of the control.

Your children are NOT better in this situation. He will hurt one or both of them. Don't take that risk.

Take your children and go flowers

springytats Sun 30-Jun-13 17:14:23

oh God... sad sad sad

Do try to see that the way it is, Loveday . Try to see it impartially.

You are normalising the violence as it has become 'everyday' in a way - do you see that? He has normalised it and has forced you to normalise it. It goes that: he is struggling with anger, but trying; so he can't help being violent. But he's trying! At least he's trying! You just have to put up with the violence because he is trying. And that is the most important thing. Apparently.

It isn't, Loveday . The most important thing is that he is never violent, regardless what is going on his life. There is never an excuse for violence.

I hate to think of you bent down doing menial work like a skivvy and him beating you while you're down there. (and DON'T think I'm hamming it up - because that's exactly what happened sad )

...all because you 'weren't loving enough'

he is a monster. Please don't let him know you're considering leaving. Imo it is really important you don't let him know, but that you just go once you have formulated a plan.

Loveday44 Sun 30-Jun-13 17:18:46

He is doing an anger management course of 5 sessions with one of the most expert authors on the topic. He is having his second session tomorrow - maybe this will help now he has admitted to it.

Swallowingmywords Sun 30-Jun-13 17:24:16

This has really shocked me, and I am not easily shocked. He hit you with a broom handle when you were crouching on the floor? And your child saw?
Yes, it is over and you have to get out immediately.

Chottie Sun 30-Jun-13 17:26:54

Please, please leave for your safety and that of your children.......

MissStrawberry Sun 30-Jun-13 17:34:36

Your relationship is not tricky. It is dangerous, abusive and the complete opposite of what you and your children should have in your life.

He will never change. Not ever.

You need to say those words out loud and accept them. More importantly you need to get out or get him out. Great that he's doing something about his anger, but its too late to save the relationship. But you know what? That's good. The relationship was never even or equal or healthy if he had to be the centre of attention and resented the change when you had kids. You will never get the relationship you want and deserve from him. Not ever.

YoniBottsBumgina Sun 30-Jun-13 17:47:47

I think he would have moved away from your family consciously but it probably wouldn't be because he consciously thought "Aha if I take Loveday away from her support then I can abuse her more easily!" It was probably, if anything, that he thought you were getting ideas from them which were making his life difficult and hence the move seemed helpful from his POV.

I don't want you to think that we are painting a picture of your H as some kind of cartoon-character evil monster, because real abusers don't look like that at all. It is a rare abuser who is fuelled just by their own pleasure in seeing others' pain - it's much more likely that he just sees you in a whole category of your own, either because he sees all women as in this category, or because you are his wife, he feels that you have chosen this role and if you are not performing it correctly then that is your fault.

Men like this tend to see women as something like an adult child who needs guidance, or an employee where he is the "head" of the household, or similar to the way you or I might see a pet - loved and cherished and absolutely part of the family, looked after well and treated with respect, but you wouldn't serve them food at the table with the humans or allow them to interrupt something important you were doing to demand a walk/food at not their usual time. Basically, he hasn't seen you as an equal since the birth of your second child. Perhaps he never did - or did only in a business context, but not once the "wifework" became so much of a strain that he considered it was a full job for one person rather than something to be approached equally. It is this "fair inequality" in his head which enables him to abuse you without feeling that he is doing anything wrong, if ever he does feel guilty or express regret, it's only because he feels like he went too far - he doesn't feel that it was wrong in the first place.

Does that make sense at all? It's also why you won't be able to make him change sad because he sees that he is right and he is above you, how could he ever then take your opinion as higher than his own? Even if someone outside of the relationship was to point out to him how wrong he is being he probably would dismiss them as not understanding the dynamics of your particular relationship or just not listen because this kind of thinking is so ingrained in him that it has probably been there for a very long time and it is just a solid fact to him. A husband's role is X, a wife's role is Y. And he is always right in his own head to steer you back towards that when you have "forgotten".

You are right you will never be able to be happily in this relationship unless you totally submit to his idea of what you should be - and that is mutually exclusive with you being happy. So the only way to be happy, in the long term, is to not be in the relationship.

maras2 Sun 30-Jun-13 17:47:54

He doesn't need anger management,he needs a fucking prison cell.He's beaten you and shaken your babies.No more excuses please.Go to the people who love you and get this pathetic excuse of a man out of your lives.Just leave before the violence escalates.I'm not prone to over egging situations but I fear for the lives of you and the children.

Hissy Sun 30-Jun-13 17:56:52

He doesn't need anger management. He can manage his anger just fine.

You need a man and a van, or an occupation order.

You need to get out, there is no other option. I'm sorry.

MadBusLady Sun 30-Jun-13 18:47:35

Loveday You're not listening.

Anger management is not his problem.

He hits you because he CHOOSES to.

How do we know that? Because he doesn't hit anyone else. He functions in society. He is not a loose cannon kicking off at everyone and everything, constantly getting into trouble with colleagues, friends, family, the police... THAT is what an anger management problem looks like.

You said yourself, he comes across as charming, intelligent and educated to the outside world.

He CAN help himself, because he usually does.

He wants to hit you.

antimatter Sun 30-Jun-13 19:32:52

also - he doesn't want you to go, because he needs you to be there as he uses you, he needs you to vent his anger or frustration on

ChangingWoman Sun 30-Jun-13 20:29:41

I clicked on your thread expecting it to be about awkward in-laws, difficult teenage step-children, or something else in the general "tricky relationship" category.

After reading, I'm left frightened for you and your children. The behaviour of your H is utterly cruel, abusive and criminal.

You've probably been inside this bubble for so long that you can't see what it looks like from the outside. As PPs have already said, it isn't a "tricky relationship", it's far beyond that. If a friend of mine told me this story, I'd offer anything I could to help them get away before they or one of the DCs was badly hurt.

Definitely not an anger management issue. During our marriage, I was sometimes so angry with exH that I'm surprised my heart didn't burst with it but I've never laid a finger on him, never mind beaten him with a broom while he lay on the floor clutching a child. This isn't how normal adults deal with their anger.

Please, please listen to the wise women in this forum and find a way out of this for all your sakes.

lazarusb Sun 30-Jun-13 20:35:07

Read your posts back and imagine if your sister or friend had written it. What would you feel? What would you tell her? Would you be frightened for her?

I've been in your shoes. I can tell you I moved from love to contempt to feeling nothing for my ex. Towards the end if he attacked me I didn't actually care if he killed me or not...and I had a 5 year old ds. Please don't let yourself get to that. I'm many years on, very happy. It feels like it happened to someone else now.

Please end this, as safely as you can. There is a lot of support out there, use it. You and your tiny children have to come first.

springytats Sun 30-Jun-13 23:51:05

It is immaterial that the counsellor is 'the expert in the field' (how typical of an abuser that only 'the best' will do! There are endless anger management counsellors/specialists, they all do pretty much the same job).

Anger is not his core problem; his beliefs about you, and women and children in general, are his core problem.

Does he hit your customers when they don't pay? Does he hit a policeman who pulls him over for speeding? Does he hit anybody at all, or only you and his children.

Loveday44 Mon 08-Jul-13 21:47:48

who can I phone for support?

Guiltypleasures001 Mon 08-Jul-13 22:04:15

999 asap

Loveday44 Mon 08-Jul-13 22:06:24

My parents came over to help as we took a short break (it did not help us get at all close). It was beautiful to come back and see how my 2 children were loving the harmonious environment and heartbreaking at the same time. As soon as my parents left, he verbally attacked me and went on and on and on. I asked him to be quiet in front of the children. He then started writing madly to his parents for their support which I am sure they gave him. He then locked himself in his room all afternoon until I settled back in, did all the clearing, unpacking, washing, dinners etc as soon as the kids were asleep and I was ready to talk without them hearing and approached him he said I was attacking him. So apparently it is ok to argue in front of the kids but then he says we must go through a third party to discuss any issues I want to.

TimeofChange Mon 08-Jul-13 22:08:14

Wise MN women help Loveday please.

Loveday are you in the UK?

YoniBottsBumgina Mon 08-Jul-13 22:19:20

You can call women's aid at any time (if in UK). The number is 0808 2000 247.

They will listen if you just want to rant.
They will not judge or tell you what to do.
They will believe you and they will understand.

If you are at crisis point and need to leave they will help you make a plan, they will find you and your children a safe place to stay.
If you don't want to take action yet that is fine too - theywill plisten and support.
If you don't know what to do for rhw best they can give you advice - but only if you ask for it.

They can offer every kind of help and support and they believe that all kinds of support are important. You are important.

Val007 Mon 08-Jul-13 22:19:52

Next time he may kill you... Or worse still, kill one of your children...
These people never change. Of course he can manage his anger - otherwise he would not be sweet when you are on the verge of leaving. He will stop trying as soon as you are back to agreeing with him.

Please, take your kids and go to your parents' NOW!

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