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Have i been emotionally abused my entire marriage?

(105 Posts)
Alipongo1 Mon 01-Jul-13 14:03:58

Hi, I discovered this site a few weeks ago and decided to tell you about how I've been treated in my marriage in the hope that you can help me. Before I begin, I must tell you that my DH acts in a normal, civil manner for most of the time. He can be very kind, for example, shortly after we met, he financially supported me through a one year training course and used his money to pay for a deposit on our first house. However, the trouble began when we were planning our wedding abroad. My parents and siblings said they would stay with us for a week, then go home so we could have our 'honeymoon'. My DP's mother insisted that it wasn't worth going for a week and was planning to stay with us for whole 2 weeks along with her husband, daughter and SIL. I wasn't happy with the situation, but DP said he wasn't prepared to say 'no' to his mother! After the wedding my DH was quite distant with me and was constantly fussing over his mum - she even sat with us in the horse-drawn carriage from the registry office! I feel we lost out on all the intimacy that should be built up at this time, and was made to feel like the unwanted addition to his family holiday.
When we returned home, my MIL announced that she wanted to leave city where she'd lived for 30 years and move to countryside. She and my DH came to agreement that she could have all our savings (14k) and she'd pay us back in her will! I wasn't even consulted! When I said 'no' they were both moody and sulky and I was made to feel selfish and mean. She eventually bought a new house - 4 doors down from DH and myself!!!!
When my husband was made redundant he got a new job 60 miles away from where we lived. He tried commuting, but eventually we decided that we'd have to move closer. My MIL started to make up stories about how she was becoming ill and hinting that she had cancer, I think to try and make us feel guilty. My DH, again, was cold and distant towards me, almost making it seem that I was 'making' him leave his mother.
We have 3 DD's (14,12 and 6) and he dotes on them. However, i feel that he speaks to me in a very derogatory way, for example when I said that i'd been 'stupid' at making a mistake about something, he replied "That's not stupid: it was idiotic". A few days ago I made a mistake on the computer and he was shouting "This isn't rocket science! Why don't you know this by now?" He does apologise afterwards, but says that I'm over sensitive. He also says I need to see all these things in isolation, and to stop drawing lines.
Can anyone help me make sense of this? I'd be very grateful. I also have lots more examples, should you need them.

amybenson03 Tue 31-Dec-13 17:43:08

Have you gone through with the divorce?

cjel Sat 06-Jul-13 16:57:45

springy, weird to say you are amazed hes british, mine is and so are most of the people on here who it happens to, the freedom programme is full of white british women whose white british men are the same.

ALI, he won't own it Yes he is so bad and that also is classic trying to make you doubt yourself so he will start to make you feel you need 'help' with your problems,
Find people to listen to who will confirm what you are feeling not challenge it.

springytata Sat 06-Jul-13 16:45:03

Has anyone mentioned the Freedom Programme ? I'd get on that iiwy and then you can check out what's going on in your marriage.

I am amazed to hear he's british. I'm amazed to hear his mother was in the coach at your wedding - that just makes me cringe.

As for 'am I so bad?' - my abusive ex used to say the same. HIs reasoning was that he didn't hit me. But you don't have to be hit to be a victim of domestic abuse. there are plenty of ways to destroy your partner.

jayho Sat 06-Jul-13 14:20:32

Ali delurking to say it doesn't matter what he's like in comparison to other people, it's how he makes you feel that counts.

Good luck

Alipongo1 Sat 06-Jul-13 14:18:13

Hi again,

springy we are all British, so he's not got that as an excuse.

We had another argument this morning where he insisted I had to change. he kept saying things like "Am I so terrible?" When I read some of the other posts, he's not as bad as most of the other men. Now I don't know if I'm doing the right thing.

springytata Sat 06-Jul-13 10:43:12

Sorry if I've missed it (haven't read the whole thread - sorry) but this sounds like a cultural thing. Is he british? His adoration for his mother and also dropping everything/funding family projects/businesses sounds like a particular culture. Asian? Middle eastern? Are you british?

fwiw you are in a horrible marriage. He may have a good public face but you know what happens in your home. Death by a thousand papercuts sad

cjel Fri 05-Jul-13 19:29:09

I wouldn't bother to waste any more time trying to get him to admit he has done anything wrong. You know he has. people on here have confirmed your feelings and he will not change when he thinks he can get a way with it. He may only change when you are not around, not while you stay.

Floppityflop Fri 05-Jul-13 19:24:58

Isn't this what is called gaslighting?

Alipongo1 Fri 05-Jul-13 19:22:48

Hi everyone-Thanks for all your input.

Just had another argument with DH about all these incidents. He is absolutely exasperated with me - he says I have a "massive problem" in the fact that I can't let go of the past, despite the fact that at least 4 f the incidents happened within the last 2 months.

Feel sick with stress of all this.

suburbophobe Fri 05-Jul-13 18:37:54

Could anyone tell me the sort of things a nice man does for his wife?

My dad who was with my mum for 70 years brought home a bunch of flowers every Xmas eve.

I think that was lovely because it showed he appreciated everything she did over Christmas. He did lots of other nice things for her like take her out for dinner, on holiday, etc. But I think that is just normal (if it is financially viable) things you do for/with the one you love.

I'm so glad you are getting great advice on here. Your miscarriage experience sent shivers down my spine... So sorry you had to go through that (as well as the other stuff of course).

How he treats your parents is beyond despicable.

slipperySlip000 Fri 05-Jul-13 16:07:44

"Each time he does one of these nasty things, something inside of me makes me withdraw from him."

EXACTLY the same thing happened with my and my h. Eventually I withdrew to the extent that I could look at things a whole lots more dispassionately. This allowed me to think 'f*ck this for a larf', leave, and reclaim a sense of me. I feel the same thing happening to you, Alipongo. Let me tell you something..... emotionally I have never felt better, even though it was only 14 days ago!

Whether or not he is abusive is sort of academic, in a way. Whatever has happened in your marriage he has chip, chip, chipped away at your ability to be close to him, love him, work in a partnership.

Do you want to retire with this man? If not, just get out now and start living the rest of your life in a way that's true to yourself. You deserve better than this.

The solicitor is not there to validate. He is there to facilitate the legalities. You don't have to justify anything to anyone but yourself.

Thinking of you flowers

captainmummy Fri 05-Jul-13 13:54:51

My dp tells me he loves me every single day. Phones at lunchtime. Sees me every evening (we don't live together) and texts me in the morning before work.
He does any DIY or cleaning i ask. He will cook, shop, serve, clear away. He buys me flowers (occasionally!) and wine (more often!)

He always cuddles up when watching TV. He plays with my dc, and loves them. He lets me put them first.

I couldn't beleive it when your dh said your MIL wanted your money (ok, joint money but yours as well) for your BIL, and he was ready to do that, without even consulting you! Even as a SAHM you have the right to joint finances, you are doing a full-time job (and more!) so yes, that is your money too.

I'm not surprised you withdraw from him - it sounds like he is not that close to you anyway, and you are just an appendage to look after him and the dc.

I think he could find out that in fact you are a lot more than that, when you get your own life back.

cjel Fri 05-Jul-13 09:49:52

I just keep thinking that I am sort of pleased that you are realising early enough to have a lovely longlife without this treatment. I waited till I was 50 before I was able to make the break. I felt overwhelming sadness at the realising that someone I loved so much had been so cruel to me.
It is not your 'fault' but your upbringing would have left you open the abuse.
Understanding why you have put up with it is very freeing - hopefully it will help you to be aware for your future relationships.

Alipongo1 Fri 05-Jul-13 09:44:56

Scarlet Thankyou for letting me know what your nice DH does. You're a very lucky lady.
I'm struggling to think of much ........my DH makes me a cup of tea if he's making one for himself. He mows the lawn and puts the bin out. He takes the DD's to and from their hobbies.

I feel that there is no kindness or tenderness towards me, although he is very affectionate with the DD's. When we sit altogether on the sofa he always hugs them close, so he is definitely capable of feeling warmth and affection. My youngest asked me a few weeks ago "Do you and Daddy ever kiss or cuddle?" I don't think we ever have in the 6 years she's been alive.

Sometimes I think it might be something I've done. It's actually hard for me to think of any nice things that I do for him. I mean, I do cook, shop, clean, laundry, organise DD's etc., but then I have never worked full time since we were married, so it only seems fair that I do these things.

Somebody wrote in their post that I had resentments over the things DH has done and said - they were absolutely right. Each time he does one of these nasty things, something inside of me makes me withdraw from him.

To be honest, I really only have myself to blame. When I was growing up my parents never said the words "I love you" to me. However, my DH said these words to me after only a few weeks of meeting him! I was schmitten! I couldn't ever imagine meeting anyone else who would feel the same way about me, so I felt I had to marry him.

<does a small pom-pom wave in GS's direction!>

GettingStrong Thu 04-Jul-13 22:44:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

cjel Thu 04-Jul-13 20:34:58

A nice man would put you and dcs above anyone else.If his dm asked for money for db he would consult you and say things like 'guess what she wants now - shes mad'!!!!!

Ok...here goes... (not sure what good it will do you though, because even if he does any of the things a 'nice man' does for his wife, he still does the horrid things IYSWIM and you have already said that in between his abusive behaviours are times when he is a nice, normal person)

Sort of things my DH (a nice man) does:

Calls me darling, sweetheart, never calls me stupid

Always speaks to me in a decent, respectful way doesn't shout at me

Brings me brew and toast in bed every morning

Shows his appreciation of me and anything I might do for him like cooking supper, sorting anything out etc

Listens to my ideas even the mad ones and listens generally

Makes me laugh a lot

Enjoys my company

Rubs my back before we sleep

Is encouraging to me when I want to do something

Treats others decently

Loves my DCs as well as his own

Actually, I could just go on and on, but I'll stop now because blush well you get the picture... And because Alipongo1 these things are just an illustration of what you asked about a 'nice man'.

And, even if your H does some of these things sometimes an actual nice man (as opposed to a nasty man who is being nice) wouldn't treat someone the way your H treats you, sad sorry

Alipongo1 Thu 04-Jul-13 19:11:45

Thanks for your opinions.
I do have some female friends that I meet up with and they do quibble about their DHs a little bit. I've never told them about the things that my DH has done, if I'm honest it's because I feel ashamed and embarrassed.

I do have another example, albeit from a long time ago (which according to my husband means it no longer counts). A few weeks before birth of first DH we went on a 'dry-run' to see how long it would take to get to the hospital in the car. On the way he announced that his brother's business was in trouble and that we would have to give him our money to bail him out! His DM had been on the phone again expecting him to sort out all her family troubles.I had just given up work! We were expecting our first child any day! He didn't even say "Would you mind if..." it was just a statement of fact. Fortunately it never came to that, but again it demonstrated how his family take precedence over me.
Could anyone tell me the sort of things a nice man does for his wife? I would be so interested to see if my DH actually does any of these things.

cjel Thu 04-Jul-13 16:37:39

I'm also going to say that the things that happened to you in childhood could need to be looked at and they could explain why you have felt that this awful treatment from your dh is normal, why you think that you don't deserve to be treated better. We are all shaped by our pasts and although i would never want to dwell on bad situations the reactions and how you felt about them can help you understand the present.

Snazzywaitingforsummer Thu 04-Jul-13 12:47:04

But I think that's slightly different, because your childhood is over now and you are living as an adult (albeit one shaped by your childhood as everyone is), whereas your marriage is ongoing. Your 'here and now' is shaped by the things that have happened previously in the marriage. Plus, even if there are gaps between the worst episodes, your husband has shown that this is a recurrent behaviour pattern and even if it improves at times, you can't count on it going away. So it is very much part of your 'here and now', because it is present as a possibility for you every day.

"I felt scared that something bad was going to happen to me and he would just stand by and allow it to happen"

This is the here and now for you. And I can tell you that you deserve a lot better.

My husband is far from perfect but he would not do this and he would have cared for me after a miscarriage. He does not let his mother dictate how we live, nor does she take precedence over his own household.

I think the problem is that some woman moan about their DHs being insensitive, critical etc, and you have wondered if the stuff your DH does is what they mean. It isn't. It's on another level for you.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 04-Jul-13 11:59:10

"Is that normal for a DH to behave that way?"

Put it this way. Had you collapsed in the street, any random stranger would have shown you ten times more care and attention than that. No, it's not in the slightest bit normal and expecting ordinary human decency from the person who is supposed to love you above all others is not 'too much'. I've rarely heard anything so cruel and heartless.

You may not socialise as a couple but don't you have women friends that you meet up with?

Biscuitsareme Thu 04-Jul-13 11:47:32

No, that's not normal. I'm shock and sad.

I'm not surprised you can't just leave the past be if it includes memories like that.

flowers wishing you all the best flowers

Alipongo1 Thu 04-Jul-13 11:42:47

Thanks all.
When I had my CBT the therapist told me to stop dwelling on unhappy things from the past (my childhood) and to focus on the 'here and now'. She was right, when I started doing that I felt a great deal better. However, when it comes to the relationship with my husband, there can be long periods of time between his abusive behaviour, and for much of the time he can appear a nice, normal person; In order to get the strength to leave him I have to gather together in my mind all the nasty things he's done over the last 17 years - exactly what I was told NOT to do!
I wish I knew what other people's marriages are like. My husband won't socialise with other couples so I actually don't know how other women are treated. I know nobody is perfect - have I been expecting too much?
For example, I had a miscarriage at 12 weeks ( it happened in the night ) I passed out on the bathroom floor. He didn't call an ambulance/ring a doctor and the following morning just went to work as normal. I felt scared that something bad was going to happen to me and he would just stand by and allow it to happen. I spent the following day alone in the house and when I went to pick up my daughters from school I burst into tears in the playground. I felt very hurt and let down, especially as we'd told everyone I was pregnant a couple of days beforehand. He did buy me a bunch of flowers later in the week (the first in our 10 yr relationship). Is that normal for a DH to behave that way?

cjel Thu 04-Jul-13 11:26:44

cogito, he is very typically a man who is afraid of whatever and desperately trying to control what he can to make his life work for him.

Not excusing his behaviour but it is what it is.
OP doesn't have to live with it just because she can understand why he is like it, but the way he is with his dm confirms why he acts like he does, the stuff with OPs family stuff also says to me that he is driven by the fear that his dm instilled in him. to confirm his view of what a 'safe' life he is so driven to make it work he will take all steps necessary to succeed.

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