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Need perspective from Mumsnetters

(55 Posts)
Peterpurvis Sun 08-Sep-13 08:36:52

Hi

I have been on mumsnet for years but very rarely post, however I would really appreciate some perspective as I am unhappy but unsure if it's just me over thinking and generally a bit hardwork....

Basically, I find my H hard to live with - he's quite up and down emotionally and also gets annoyed with me over the smallest things. The tone and delivery of what he says upsets me and doesn't fill me with a comfortable feeling.
He also does things that I find a bit odd and it irritates me. I wonder whether other women would feel the way I do.

He gets annoyed when I say I'm going out with a friend (he says he's not annoyed but it's the tone and delivery eg I'm going to stay with a friend one night this week - getting the train straight from work and then back in the morning to work (prob an hour each way). I told him and he said 'What you doing that for? Will you be able to get to work on time?'. I responded because I want to see my friend and yes of course I can get to work on time (my point is why asking me stupid qs like why am I visiting a friend and also about getting to work on time - how old does he think I am!))

This seems quite minor compared to other threads on here but I feel claustrophobic and like I can't think clearly as I am always wondering what he will say next. We have 2 Dc's - 4 & 6.

RandomMess Sun 08-Sep-13 10:46:51

He sounds controlling to me, he is belittling you and getting you to seek his approval or face the consequences. Says he is happy for you to go out however ensures that you are on edge whilst out by send you unpleasant and unnecessary texts.

I'm not sure counselling with someone so manipulative would be a good idea?

Peterpurvis Sun 08-Sep-13 10:49:29

Pictish yes he talks me out of most things then changes his mind and says ok. By which time I'm annoyed and the enthusiasm has gone.

pictish Sun 08-Sep-13 10:51:48

Littlepea - those among us who have been in controlling relationships can see the little red flags fluttering in the breeze. We know that one of those complaints don't add up to much, but two or three, and a picture starts to form. We also know that these behaviours are difficult to spot, are subtle and insidious, and that to anyone on the outside looking in, seem rational and even reasonable.

You may think of it as projection, and perhaps you'd be right...but some of us know these men from afar, and we are seldom wrong.

RandomMess Sun 08-Sep-13 10:57:52

I've never been in a controlling relationship btw and I can see red flags and horrible behaviour him that would just eat away at someone loud and clear!

pictish Sun 08-Sep-13 10:59:37

Yes...this is controlling behaviour OP.
He wants to control what you do, so he makes it unpleasant for you to follow through on something you have chosen to do yourself. He fires negativity at you, with the threat of further unpleasantness if you persist - like a row, or a sulk, or a telling off....
Then when he is sure he has deflated your enthusiasm, he quickly switches tack so he cannot be held responsible for what he just did, shoving the responsibility back to you after he has got his way...so he can gaily go on ruling as King Dick.

LittlePeaPod England Sun 08-Sep-13 11:00:21

Op. It's just my opinion and its not right or wrong. With regards the haircut yes maybe he should not have text whilst you were but he was clearly still irritated. What he text though wasn't in anyway asking you to cut your outing short or having a go about you been out. It was about a disagreement you and him had over something else. Very petty true but it just sounds like a petty argument/disagreement between a couple.

I don't want to come across as belittling how you feel. But the examples so far read like a couple that are bickering, not communicating or seeing each others perspective and how this impacts their feelings. That's why I thought discussing with an impartial person may be good (alone or as a couple whatever is right for you)

Based on the information so far I am unsure I can be of more help here but I am sure there will be others that may advise you that see the control/abuse etc.

Pictesh. I think if you read my previous posts you will see that I more than understand what it's like living in an abusive, EA and violent home. Please don't assume I don't.

sooperdooper Sun 08-Sep-13 11:01:06

Maybe I'm not understanding enough but I don't really see the issue, if your friends is an hour away then asking if you will be able to get to work ok seems a normal enough question to ask.

And the haircut text, well he's entitled to an opinion, and he said he'd take him back, he didn't say you'd done anything wrong or you had to do anything, if my DH text me something similar I'd think nothing of it

pictish Sun 08-Sep-13 11:04:34

Ok...fair dos.

I remember being with someone who would hang on to grudges over tiny things for sport. Iy was before mobile phones were common, so he would lie in wait for me to be relaxed and enjoying mrself before making a pointed comment about whatever shit it was.

"So are we just ignoring the fact that you snapped at me on Wednesday for no good reason? It still sticks in my throat."

If we had had text a medium he would most certainly have used it to peck at me while I was elsewhere not paying attention to him.

Leavenheath Sun 08-Sep-13 11:16:02

I've been on a few threads recently where OPs wrote about their husbands having up to 5 solo holidays a year compared to their none and having got to the end of their tether and exhausted themselves, posted on Mumsnet to ask if it was fair.

To which they got the usual replies from the usual suspects that they were trying to keep their husbands on a leash and which queried their competence to supervise children single-handedly.

Therefore, an OP writing about her displeasure that her partner wanted to stay overnight with a friend once a year would unleash a torrent of posts offering grips, numerous posts telling her that she was being very unreasonable and maybe a few kinder posts exploring the possibility that this was displaced anxiety and wondering if there were deeper issues at play.

OP although I've never experienced an abusive relationship, I recognise the possible warning signs here too. I've got a friend whose husband can't bear her going out unless she takes all the children. In his case it is pure selfishness and laziness plus a deep-seated belief that childcare is not something that fathers should be expected to perform on their own. On the rare occasions she stands up to him and has a night or a day out on her own, he assails her with texts and calls and on occasions, has invented fake illnesses either in him or the children that ensures she scurries home.

It is controlling behaviour and it's insidious. My friend is a shell of the woman she was before she had children.

Lazyjaney Sun 08-Sep-13 11:39:43

There's a thread about a DH going fishing on AIBU now, almost the reverse of this. The OP there of course is not controlling in wanting him not to go, but hard pressed and fully justified, what with small kids and a house to run etc etc

Somewhere between these 2 lies the answer.....

Bumpstarter Sun 08-Sep-13 11:40:01

It's not a book. Here is the link. It will take you half an hour to read it, and it will help you clarify what controlling behaviour he uses or not.

www.drjoecarver.com/clients/49355/File/IdentifyingLosers.html

Leavenheath Sun 08-Sep-13 12:00:50

I've just checked that AIBU thread you've mentioned Lazyjaney.

It's not the same at all. The husband announced this morning he was going out fishing all day, leaving the OP with chores to do that were time-based and urgent (getting uniforms ready etc.) She adds that when he does this (implication being it's a regular event), he brings fish home which he guts in the kitchen and leaves the OP to clear up the mess.

This OP is talking about an event for which she gave notice and there is no sense that her partner will have to do anything extra other than supervise and feed his own children. She doesn't say that when she gets home from work the following night, she expects her partner to unpack her overnight case and deal with the soiled contents.

Even then, at least one poster has advised the OP that everyone needs some time to themselves and that it's not unreasonable to seek it every now and then.

NotHappyEither Sun 08-Sep-13 12:03:36

Hi OP, just wanted to say I could've written your post word for word. You have explained my life but much better than I ever can. I also find it hard to put my finger on and wonder if I'm reading too much into things. The conversation you described resonants with me massively. I often end up not doing thing because of exactly that reason but I couldn't quite put my finger on how to explain it. My friend told me the other day that she's stopped inviting me out to certain things because she knows he'll make me feel bad about it sad

Anyway, I'm not sure what to add really other than yes deep down you as well as I know its not quite right. I don't think there is anything that would change the way he is. If he's anything like my DH he probably can't see anything wrong with what he does anyway. He's just not capable of looking at himself like that.

something2say Sun 08-Sep-13 12:13:51

Domestic abuse red flags.

Feeling uncomfortable when he is grumpy, moody, speaks to you like shit.
Texting while you are out. Disturbing you, not being very nice.
Spoiling your good time, then twisting it round to make it seem like you decided not to go.

My advice.
Each time he speaks to you like shit, say don't speak to me like that please, I don't like it.
Then walk away leaving him open mouthed.
Get on with your own thing and remove him from your metaphorical nipple while you are out.
Suffer the discomfort of weirdness while this shift in power works its way out.
Keep your friends and attend to the amount of money you have at your disposal just in case xxx
Avoid arguments when he starts, get yourself away.

Peterpurvis Sun 08-Sep-13 13:07:13

Thanks to all - I nipped out shopping to get the stuff we need for this week. Have read your comments and appreciate you all taking the time to advise.

I think it's unfair to compare my going away for a night with notice when all H will need to do will be pick kids up, feed them and put them to bed (I will have washed and iron the uniform and bought all the food for the week) to someone who announces he's going fishing today leaving other half to sort out all jobs needed for the week.

Anyway, the going away was just an example of how claustrophobic and yes controlled I feel. I believe that in this day and age things should be equal - I work full time and so does H, we earn roughly the same. I usually put kids to bed and get them up in the morn ready for school. I have always been fine with H going out even when DCs were small and I had to coordinate getting them to bed because I believed it was good for him to socialise with friends.
I am most certainly not unreasonable maybe I shouldn't read into what his response was to my going away for a night.

Peterpurvis Sun 08-Sep-13 13:08:58

not happy really glad that you understand my situation but sorry that you are not in a great place yourself

NotHappyEither Sun 08-Sep-13 14:59:07

This is why I always end up doubting myself. When you explain it to someone it can come across that they're just caring about you. Or you start to wonder if actually you are being out of line and expecting too much. Thing is it doesn't feel like that. It's not because of caring its like everything covers some other agenda they have going on.

I don't think you're being unreasonable. I also would have no problem with DH going where he wants and would just like the same in return. When he wants to do something does he just do it, while you feel like you have to clear it with him if you want to?

Shapechanger Sun 08-Sep-13 15:23:42

That 'Loser' article by Dr Joe Carver absolutely rocks. Even the fact that he's chosen to call the villain 'The Loser'. Love it. Saw lots of stbxdh in there.

Leavenheath Sun 08-Sep-13 15:39:53

Apart from anything, that sounds like an unfair division of labour you've got going on there.

If you both work full time, why are you doing all the kids' washing and ironing, sorting them in the morning and at night? I see you did the week's shopping today too. What does he do then?

And to reverse this, when H goes out/away, does he make sure the kids have got enough clean and ironed clothes and the fridge is stocked? So that all you have to do when you get in from work is feed them and put them to bed?

I have a feeling that's going to be a rhetorical question...

Bumpstarter Sun 08-Sep-13 19:20:31

Shape changer... Yeah, it's great, isn't it!

I found it so useful, an will be reading it with my children once they are an appropriate age.

Hullygully Sun 08-Sep-13 19:25:57

I'm not getting "controlling" so much as "rigid and can't cope with unexpected anything"

It sounds like his initial reaction to anything slightly unexpected: popping to shops, going to friend's is a threatened NO! followed by an Ok when he calms down, assimilates the info and gets past the threatened feeling

I may, or may not, be a little prone to this myself.

Peterpurvis Sun 08-Sep-13 19:48:40

Hully interested to know why you react in that way (if you know)?

Yes, unfair division of labour that's true but hey that's another challenge and no he doesn't get the kids sorted if he goes out although he may possibly text 'give the children vegetables' (which also drives me crazy).

*

Hullygully Sun 08-Sep-13 19:52:29

I don't really know, I had a chaotic childhood so there is something about being safe/in control of my environment and not liking surprises. I am aware of it in myself and try to fight it, but often my first reactions are negative and I have to apologize later. Change makes me fearful and so defensive/aggressive.

Peterpurvis Thu 12-Sep-13 09:15:03

I'm back, DH has been shouting at me again and I can't stand it any longer - counselling needed but where do you go? Relate or somewhere else?

Peterpurvis Thu 12-Sep-13 09:17:23

Also what steps do I need to take to split up?

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