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I don't know if I'm in an emotionally abusive relationship or whether its just me being highly strung

(60 Posts)
Pleasefiveminutesforme Sat 24-Aug-13 23:43:58

I feel like my husband is constantly criticising me. We have two kids, age 3 and 1. So I have a lot on my plate. And I do a hell of a lot. But I always seem to forget something, or get so something wrong. The house is always too messy for his liking, too cluttered. And he is always picking me up on it.. even though he claims that he actually lets so many things go and that he is constantly having to hold his tongue and say nothing and make allowances. He says that i am so so sensitive that i cannot take advice on how to do things better or more efficiently, and that what he said under his breath wasnt for my hearing anyway. And he is so so good at arguing his point that I am always the one apologising, even if we are bickering about something I really believed not to be my fault.

I'm so lonely about this as I don't want to be unfaithful to him by talking to my friends about it but most of my closest friends have seen me in tears at one point or other over something he has been angry with me about. I feel like I am always in the wrong in his eyes and he always claims to not remember examples of him previously putting me down, so much so that I've threatened to start writing everything down as annoyingly I can remember the put-downs but am unable to repeat the whole circumstances that lead to it. He huffs and puffs when I've annoyed him and then when I get frustrated he claims that I'm being unreasonable for attacking him for breathing.

We have always had an argumentative relationship. I think I have always felt put down by him but its worse since I had kids. I have never argued in previous relationships but most arguments come from me getting indignant or answering back to criticisms he makes. And he is so so good with words he can argue me in to a corner. He has such courage in his convictions that I am always the one who ends up apologising. He is also an only child so I wonder if that is why he is so convinced he is always right.

I have ended l on anti anxiety tablets for the past year. But I feel like its him that's causing my anxiety. When he is away for work I don't miss him. I get stressed with the kids but not anxious which is how I am around him, I feel like I am constantly watching what I say when he's therre. i do jobs for fear of being told off. i darent ask him to do anything round the house as he will discover my way of doing it is flawed and that it needs changing or that i hadnt done it properly the time before. If he thinks any of those things he will have a go at me or there will be a big argument. He says its been loads better between us of late as we haven't argued so much but that's because I keep my mouth shut most of the time when he offends me now.

I dn't know what to do. He is an amazing father and has a sweet heart but he is so critical and gets angry with me. He has banged doors and walls but never ever raised a hand to me. Once in the middle of the night when he was having go at me for how I was dealing with our son screaming in the night I lashed out at him in the bed out of pure frustration and he had to pin me back, so now he likes to remind me of how I was physically abusive to him once and has even brought it up in front of our three year old.

On the other hand I am an emotional person and I think maybe it is all me and that I am being unreasonable. I like getting my own way so maybe its just that I don't like being told. My family laugh and joke and say that I was a handful and that he has calmed me down. (I changed career 6months before I met him and I actually think it was partly being more fulfilled that may have done that too). I just thought relationships were supposed to be teamwork and the only way that has materialised in our relationship is that he works really really hard and I do the kids and house. But I don't criticise his job, although he is constantly critisising mine. Is feeling this way normal?? I just don't know! All I know is I am mostly miserable with him and that although I love him loads I am getting to the point where I almostwould rather walk away.

Please your advice would be really welcome, is it just me being a little princess and expecting too much??

rivellarot Sun 25-Aug-13 23:04:43

thanks whiteand green and sorry for the hijack 5 minutes. Will be watching this thread with interest. i hope you make the right decision.

LemonDrizzled Mon 26-Aug-13 00:02:43

Yes to that! Deciding to leave took years. Actually leaving was easy and made everything better

bragmatic Mon 26-Aug-13 01:32:17

You made him feel like an arsehole? Well, if it looks like a duck....

I promise you, when he cottons on to the fact that you're starting to see through him, he'll be a whole lot nicer. Don't fall for it. He won't change.

Snazzyenjoyingsummer Mon 26-Aug-13 10:04:34

Notice that his responses are all about him. You've told him you feel desperately unhappy and in return he sulks and says you've made him feel like an arsehole (if the cap fits..) And you worry that he says ill be really depressed if you leave. It's not your responsibility to make him happy, you know. He has to do that himself. If he's not happy then he has to fix it, not blame it on what you do.

Snazzyenjoyingsummer Mon 26-Aug-13 10:07:40

And next time he lies about something not happening when it did, look him in the eye and say 'You can keep lying all day if you like, but don't imagine it fools me because I know exactly what you said, and lying only makes it worse' Then refuse to argue the toss about whether he did or didn't anymore 'I'm not going to argue anymore because as I said..'

colafrosties Mon 26-Aug-13 10:51:14

Just wondering, do you know anything about his previous relationships?

treadpattern Mon 26-Aug-13 11:13:47

Hi, this sounds v familiar to me, you end up on eggshells worrying about getting it wrong more than you get it right. I had partner who got me in to this state over period of time, partly becuause I am forgetful and can be easily distracted tbh, but her frustration was just too much, over the top. I would worry about the shopping all the time and whether my kids had picked up their socks or not. This was all a front for the fact that she and I ultimately had different views on things.

It is hard to say if he can change I hope so but if you are already talking about seperation then it seems like maybe you two just don't fit.

clam Mon 26-Aug-13 12:29:44

DO NOT show him the book! Another poster did this once, and her h twisted it all round to accuse her of being the controlling one. Also, if you share a computer, be aware that if you bought it from, say, Amazon, you will get pop-ups on screen detailing the book. You might want to look into how to remove them.

bibliomania Mon 26-Aug-13 12:46:00

Although I was totally confused as he had told me to deal with our son so I didn't know how I was supposed to look after her as well...

Oh, he's good at this. Whatever you did would have been wrong. That's how he gets his sense of power - you running around trying to please him, while he changes to goalposts so it would be impossible ever to do so.

So glad you're reading Lundy Bancroft. I'm another veteran of such a relationship (I like to think that it's like being a war vet, rather than a "victim"). It's horrible when you realize that someone who is meant to love you quite deliberately sets out to make your life unpleasant.

The fact that you enjoyed your holiday more because he was out doing sport all the time should tell you quite a lot about what he contributes to your everyday happiness....

Pleasefiveminutesforme Fri 20-Sep-13 23:53:15

A bit of an update as we are nearly a month on from my first post. I did post a reply back in August but the iPad ate it, and I found it too difficult to find the words for a second time. However things have changed since then anyway.

With the confidence I found from posting and receiving all this fabulous support, I started to stand up to the way he was speaking to me. It was as if he genuinely had no idea he was being that foul to me... And as for the constant criticisms he really believed that he was just giving me advice. But wîth my newfound confidence I essentially gave him an ultimatum. You can keep treating me like this where I feel unrespected, or I can take the kids and move in with my parents who live over an hour and a half away.

He initially seemed shocked that I should feel that way but as I started to give him examples he started to act more sheepish as there was no denying that the way he had spoken to me on several recent occasions was disrespectful and unkind.

Who knows if it will last but he seems to be making much more of an effort to speak to me respectfully. Don't get me wrong, he's still pretty selfish and I understand that that's never going to change, he's an only child who had suspected spina bifida during the pregnancy who miracously came out strong and healthy, but whose mother sadly had to have a hysterectomy whilst he was very young. No surprise that he was doted upon and praised for evrything he did, especially when it was discovered he was super-bright, got offered a scholarship to a fancy school and was the first person from his family to go to University, let alone Oxbridge. But I can cope with a little selfishness. As long as the person is going to indulge a little of my own selfishness in return!

Most importantly though, I no longer feel as anxious as I did. I still make the effort to make the place nice at the end of the day but that's because it's pleasant to have a tidy house in the evening without toys strewn all over the place and the laundry half done and dishes piled up on the side, not because I am scared that he is going to stomp around the house sighing loudly on his return from work if he finds it that way, or criticise that I haven't done something properly.

I also bought the Lundy book on the recommendations and although I have found little time to read it where I will not be spotted, what I have read already has given me validation that I was not just being highly strung. It has also given me the confidence to open up to two of my best and oldest friends about how controlling he is, telling them that I am reading a book that is helping me deal with him... As if they needed telling that he were controlling after some of the scenes they have witnessed in the past!

I get that these are only steps in the right direction and that they are not necessarily indicative if how things will continue but they are giving me confidence. We have rowed since and he has said some horrid things in the heat of the moment but I have been able to stand up to myself in a way I wasn't really capable of a few months ago, so thanks so much for your support, mumsnetters!

A return to work just two days a week has also done a great deal for my confidence as I am suddenly being seen in a different, more competent light (i am pretty good at my job and i love it to boot) also I remember how normal people interact without putting one another down!

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