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I would love your opinion on my very tricky relationship...(89 Posts)
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 childs 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 didnt 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 husbands 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 wasnt 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?
Oh. My. God.
Leave now. You are not safe. Your children are not safe.
I am so sorry, I dont often say this but I do think he a seriously abusive man, and that long term you (and kids) will be better and happier away, too many things you say alarm me
I agree with others, its NOT anger management, as only you and the kids get it in the neck
He has got himself into a paradigm thats it 100% OK to treat you and the kids like shit
and its not easy
as a starter for ten, can you get some good counselling for yourself? To keep you sane, space to vent, and most important to get you STRONG and ASSERTIVE
you are going to need to be firm in your convictions, and actually quite strategic here, for example
start a diary
record abuse, seriously get a recorder and start to record his rants
get yourself legally informed
you CAN do this, but as with any project some planning and effort to get you strong is well worth it
this is going to be a tough project, but the law is on your side
and KEEP speaking with your friends, please. they are outraged for you, rightly so
Darling, you must stop holding out for anger management to improve his behaviour. As has been said already upthread he does not have an anger management problem. He has not lashed out at work, at your friends, at people who irritate him in the supermarket. He is only lashing out at you and your children. People with genuine anger management problems cannot pick and choose who they lose their temper with. It just happens.
Your husband is CHOOSING to hurt you, he is being careful to do so in private, to a woman and small children whom he knows cannot defend themselves. It is calculated abuse.
Anger management will not help this man. My ex was a calculated abuser, he was made by the police to attend anger management courses. He came home after completing this, threw me to the ground and said "now I know exactly how to make you press my buttons".
You must not wait for this to get better. It won't. You have a supportive family despite this man's best efforts, let them help you get away and rebuild your life and your confidence. I promise you it is worth it. I cannot tell you how wonderful that feeling of freedom is! Listen to these wise ladies, grab what you need for your children and yourself and go when it is safe to do so. You're not on your own love.
Loveday this is truly one of the most shocking threads I have ever read on MN. Can you go to your parents? Take the children and go. Please.
He knows. He was there. He put you in the position of having to go through everything.
Contact Women's Aid, the police, supportive family, in safety and leave. Everything can be sorted with legal advice from a place of safety.
You are a good caring person and mother. None of this is your fault. But it is not fixable. Protect yourself and dcs and leave.
I'm so sorry for everything you've been through. You sound like a fantastic, loving mother and a great person. You and your children deserve better than this. The thought of having to move on and leave behind your marriage is terrifying, but I think you must do it and I think you know that.
It's just too dangerous for you and your precious children to do otherwise, I'm afraid. Your husband sounds like a danger to you all.
It's sad when a marriage ends, but you and your children deserve a happy life, where you're not in fear or treading on eggshells all the time. A marriage needs the complete commitment of both parties, with love and respect on both sides.
I have seen many threads on MN now with a depressingly similar story to yours; I've seen these same women find a happier life following the fabulous advice received. I'm confident you will be a success story too. I wish you all the very best.
He knows what you have been through. He enjoys it.
Be clear about it.
And the finances can be made simple.
Get a solicitor on the case.
Let him have the bigger business if it helps.
Just be safe.
ExH hasn't changed.
He's calmed down a bit because (when I finally) I've taken no shit and no prisoners.
Yours won't change while you hope he will, because he still controls you.
As you said, it's his nature. It takes very hard work to change our natures.
Even if he does eventually, you and your children should not be in danger in the meantime.
He wont change because he doesnt want to. He doesnt see the need, why would he? because you will put up with it all.
You and your children are more important than money.
If it helps, I left with DS to go shopping.
I had my bag with me, and went to my sister's and then the police.
The rest was sorted out later.
DS had not witnessed it yet. ExH was the one dropping hints to DS about me calling the police on him.
ExH had "just" pinned me on the floor, pushed the sides of my face with his fists and slapped me once.
Then he made threats that included DS.
He has a criminal case going on (he went back to the uk, as we were abroad) and hasn't seen DS unsupervised for 2 years.
Just make sure you are all safe!
He can snap at any time.
I have only read this now, and was shocked.
He hit you with a broom when you were down because you weren't your usual loving self when he returned?
LEAVE NOW, with the children.
Leave when he's not in or make sure you have people around (the police, preferably)
And report him to the police.
Seriously forget about him changing.
Your children have witnessed and been victims of his violence and abuse.
ideally I want him to understand all I have been through because of his controlling nature, understand it, say sorry and mean it and change his attitude and start a new slate.
everything is shared, our property, our business, our accounts (we also have personal ones) but it is very complex.
What do you want to happen now, ideally?
Who owns the property or whose name is on the tenancy of your home?
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!
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.
Wise MN women help Loveday please.
Loveday are you in the UK?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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