Note: Mumsnetters don't necessarily have the qualifications or experience to offer relationships counselling or to provide help in cases of domestic violence. Mumsnet can't be held responsible for any advice given on the site. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

Bewildered and confused

(124 Posts)
bewilderedagain Sun 08-Sep-13 08:40:31

Am so confused and bewildered (again) that I could use some support in helping me see the wood from the trees.

I have been with my DP just over 6 years. We live together and our dcs are both grown up and live elsewhere.

95% of the time our relationship is great, He is understanding, funny, kind, loyal etc, etc.

Except when we row.

Rows used to be very infrequent....about 3 a year at most if that.

In the last 6 weeks I can count at least 4. If I give you just an example of last nights you might be able to give me some perspective.

Started over something really stupid (don't they all?) Wanted a Chinese takeaway, usual one wasn't taking orders so looked online and found another and ordered.

Messed about...order arrived 1 hr 20 mins later after 3 phone calls....arrived in bag which had spilt the food everywhere so that was the end of that.

Annoying but not the end of the world. I offered to make bacon sandwiches to be told 'fuck that I'll go and get a takeaway myself". I told him quite calmly that if he did that I would be calling the police as he would be over the limit. ( The simple reason neither of us went out earlier to collect was that we had a drink. Not a lot but enough to be over the limit. He has never ever thought it would be ok to ride his motorbike after drinking)

He then yelled at me to phone another place and he would walk and pick it up. I have told him recently that I won't respond if he shouts at me and that as such he could phone them himself.

Then followed a barrage of shouting at me telling me I'm just like all woman in that I needle and wind him up and then ask innocently "what have I done wrong?"

I genuinely did not know what I had done wrong and when I tried to talk to him was met "oh just fuck off!" several times. His face was absolutely contorted with rage.

He then proceeded to tell me that I had rowed with him earlier in the day and "why wouldn't I just bloody listen" Plumber came out, made boiler situation worse...ok now we need to sort out. Not a problem. The plumber had told him all sorts of things couldn't be done and we would need a new radiator. DP says he thinks that is bullshit and he will speak to his boss (Knowledgeable) and ask him. I asked a few questions about why couldn't we do this or that just to try to understand. I then said ok shall we call British Gas and we agreed we would. Sorted. No raised voices, no frustration just a conversation (in my head) Later in the evening he was shouting that I had argued with him about this..."you never bloody listen, you always have to bloody argue" There wasn't an argument! There really wasn't. I remember...I was there.

It isn't the first time he's accuse me of arguing when I merely wanted clarification about something and to ask some questions (I work with people I don't understand the ins and outs of machines around the home etc.)

This might sound trivial but it is making me very uneasy.
Am I forgetting things? Did we have a row and I really can't remember it? Is it a row if I ask questions? I wasn't saying I know better (I don't)

I asked him to tell me what I had said that he thought was me arguing, mainly so I could actually see what he was getting at. He told me to "fuck off and leave him alone " and sneered "of course you never do anything wrong do you?" Well obviously that's not the case but on this occasion I am genuinely bewildered.

So, I get accused of arguing but when I try to ask what I said that he perceived as arguing (because that would actually help) I get told to fuck off and shut up.

I think this has now happened once too often and that we are through which breaks my heart.

Am I over thinking it?
Perhaps it's not really that bad?

Please can anyone help me see what might be happening?

I am genuinely bewildered

Thanks

tumbletumble Sun 08-Sep-13 08:46:36

It's normal to argue sometimes, but being told to shut up and fuck off is not acceptable IMO.

SoThisIsHowYouNameChange Sun 08-Sep-13 08:55:56

Was he drinking the other times you argued?

bewilderedagain Sun 08-Sep-13 09:04:36

No it doesn't always happen because he's had a drink. Last night he had hardly drank anything (but enough to be over the limit)
In the afternoon when I allegedly argued (but he won't tell me what I did!) he hadn't been drinking.
I wish I could put it down to that but I can't.

GuybrushThreepwoodMP Sun 08-Sep-13 09:07:13

Making you feel unsure about events which have happened is what people refer to as gaslighting. It's manipulative and abusive.
What is he like the rest of the time?

bewilderedagain Sun 08-Sep-13 09:12:48

The rest of the time he is absolutely lovely and I mean really lovely.
I'm not sure I can take this 5% of "unlovely" for the sake of the other 95%

We would have a starting place if he would just tell me what I had done that constituted an argument (re the plumber) but he won't. Just keeps repeating over and over again that I just won't listen and I always have to argue. I wasn't! I was asking questions!

If he would be more specific I would have a chance of understanding perhaps how he sees it so differently from me.

Sorry, rambling now....

Walkacrossthesand Sun 08-Sep-13 09:21:30

It sounds as if his preferred 'status quo' is that you accept his opinion unquestioningly, so he feels that you are arguing (challenging him) if you say anything other than 'yes,dear, I bow to your superior knowledge of all things'. How long have you lived together?

GuybrushThreepwoodMP Sun 08-Sep-13 09:23:45

Is it not possible to rationalise with him then? He just repeats that you always argue when you try to calmly discuss it?
He sounds like he has sepoys problems. Do you ever feel frightened of him?

GuybrushThreepwoodMP Sun 08-Sep-13 09:24:07

*serious

DropYourSword Sun 08-Sep-13 09:29:44

Sounds like he's in an argumentative mood. I wouldn't press the issue right now to prolong it, you'll resolve nothing. Wait until you're both calmer and in a good mood and discuss it then.

bewilderedagain Sun 08-Sep-13 09:36:55

Walkacrossthesand that is exactly what it feels like! But there were no raised voices, he didn't get agitated...how can he a few hours later tell me that I argued?

He challenges some of the things I say about my work (I work in mental health) I don't think of it as an argument. I discuss things with him...maybe he then understands things from a different point of view...maybe he sticks to his original guns...not a problem.

We've lived together for about 5 years.

GuybrushThreepwoodMP it doesn't seem possible to rationalise with him. I think he thinks I am being further awkward when I ask for examples...I'm not...I'm trying to understand.

He tells me that I'm not perfect and that I shout too. I will admit to that but it is very very rare and usually when I feel pushed to the limits by his refusal to tell me what I have done 'wrong'.

I'm not frightened of him physically no. He works in the building trade and I have asked him not to speak to me as if I am one of his work mates.

Having said that I'm not frightened...I grew up with a very abusive mother who used to shout at me (and physically assault me) . She would shout until she made me cry (about 13 yrs old) then she would ask what I was crying for, when I said I didn't know she would tell me to shut up crying then and carry on shouting and the circle would continue.

This stuff with my DP doesn't frighten me but it makes me feel sick to my stomach.

Thank you for your replies...I am really struggling here. I have two weeks off and I am tempted to get on a bloody plane this afternoon and not come back. If it wasn't for my two cats I would.

Leverette Sun 08-Sep-13 09:40:46

Your partner should not treat you in ways that leave you feeling sick to your stomach. He sounds like a sexist bully who treats you with contempt whenever he feels like it.

MissManaged Sun 08-Sep-13 09:41:45

I think a few things are going on here, OP.

Firstly, I do think this is drink related. As you mention, he gave no indication of being annoyed by your 'plumbing' conversation in the afternoon.
Cue a few hours, and a few drinks, later and he feels able to say what he really thinks about it - because alcohol has taken the restraint away.
It isn't necessary to be falling down drunk, for alcohol still to be an issue. The tongue restraint may come off after just a couple of glasses of wine. It may happen when he hasn't had a drink for 24 hours, but I would guess that those times are far less frequent?

The second issue is that you seem to have a partner who actually hates being challenged on his thoughts and decisions. He sees any questions as a questioning of his decisions/thought processes, rather than as a desire to be informed. Certainly in the case of my XH, he saw it as an outright attack on his capabilities.
I suspect that (deep down) your DPs headset is still in the days when men dealt with the practical things and women stayed in the kitchen and accepted that their man was the sole fount of knowledge. A lot of men are like that at an almost unconscious level, but are smart enough to know its not acceptable, so they hide the irritation they feel when women question them.

For you, I suspect the two things have come together.

Time to sit down in a calm quiet atmosphere, with a coffee not a wine, and talk about why he is annoyed by you asking questions.

mammadiggingdeep Sun 08-Sep-13 09:48:24

Telling you to fuck off several times is aggressive behaviour. Telling you you argued when you know you didn't is gas lighting. If he's making you feel sick to the stomach then it's serious.

You need to consider your options very seriously here.

bewilderedagain Sun 08-Sep-13 09:59:12

MissManaged your post made a lot of sense.

He is very old fashioned in some ways. One of the things he says he loves about me is that I challenge things (not in an aggressive way) and that I'm not afraid to stand up and be counted if I see injustice (work in mental health....sometimes happens) But obviously when he speaks I mustn't question it.

He does come across as though he is there to protect me and look after me even though I can do both myself. But this isn't in an overbearing way. He will drive all the way to London to pick me up after a night out so that I don't have to get a train at 1am. This is a 3hr trip I might add.

He will do anything for me. When my darling dad died he was my absolute rock.

Household chores are shared equally.

There is generally a lot of mutual respect in this relationship except when we have these rows.

I don't feel that he sees me as a little woman that mustn't question anything...but I guess he must on some level.

He won't talk to me about it rationally, I have tried. So it goes away for a while and then rears its ugly head again. I can't see a way out unless I just walk on egg shells and keep my mouth shut.

He would most likely tell you things very differently from his perspective. That's just the problem....if he would tell me I could at least work out what I do that winds him up. All I get is you keep on and on winding me up. It's like he starts to shout, a row follows and then he decides it's finished and that I'm boring him and should fuck off.

This probably sounds so trivial compared to other's problems but it is really wearing me down.

I think last night was the last time.

bewilderedagain Sun 08-Sep-13 10:02:34

mammadiggingdeep thank you. I know we didn't argue I know we didn't. He told me that he had gone upstairs feeling frustrated and that I would never listen but he didn't convey that to me at the time. It was a civil conversation ....well in my mind it was.

I spent a long time trying to work out if any of it could have been construed as an argument...did I miss something? Was my tone wrong?

"He does come across as though he is there to protect me and look after me even though I can do both myself. But this isn't in an overbearing way. He will drive all the way to London to pick me up after a night out so that I don't have to get a train at 1am. This is a 3hr trip I might add".

He's not being nice here in this scenario either. It could be argued as well that he does this because he wants to keep tabs or an eye on you therefore picking you up after such a night out could be seen as controlling behaviour on his part. He sees you as somehow incapable of making your own way home.

"He will do anything for me. When my darling dad died he was my absolute rock."

Well he is not doing everything for you, he sees you as the little woman who should know her place.

"Household chores are shared equally".
That does not make up for all the other verbal violence he throws in your direction.

He is not going to change; this is who he is. Infact he has likely always been like this towards you but such control type stuff is insidious in its onset and it is all too easy to miss or minimise.

bewilderedagain Sun 08-Sep-13 10:14:00

I see what you are saying AttilaTheMeerkat but he does not keep tabs on me at all. I frequently go out both with work colleagues and friends and he never gives me grief (and nor should he!)

He will always offer to pick me up if I want to have a drink and not take the car. Sometimes he does, sometimes I stay with a friend.

I would also offer to pick him up if he wanted to have a drink and not take the car/bike.

GuybrushThreepwoodMP Sun 08-Sep-13 11:12:29

Maybe you need to calmly tell him that this situation is upsetting you to a point where you are considering ending the relationship because he won't talk about it rationally. If he still won't talk properly then you have your answer.

GuybrushThreepwoodMP Sun 08-Sep-13 11:16:14

Also don't ask him to explain how what was said was perceived as an argument- just tell him you KNOW there wasn't an argument and you would like to know why he is trying to make you believe otherwise.
This is all only if he is as loving and caring as you say he is. If you don't feel able to have this conversation with him then ask yourself why- maybe you are really a bit frightened of him. Not necessarily physically, but frightened of his aggressive response.
And if you are, you need to get out of there.

bewilderedagain Sun 08-Sep-13 11:37:35

Thank you. At the moment he is outside working on his bike and hasn't said a word to me.

I told him last night that this is the end and it's over.

He asked where I expected him to go and I admit I said I don't know or care and suggested he go back to live in his own house (his daughter rents it from him at the mo)

He then told me it was always the same thing, that I hold all the cards as this is my house and that I can tell him to get out when I feel like it.

He has always felt insecure in that this is my house and were he to sell his he would be stuffed. For exactly that reason I have never used it even in the middle of a heated row. I offered to put the house in his name too, many times but he won't hear of it.

He also has a job down here now (his house is about 150 miles from here)

If he can't have a reasonable discussion with me about this then there is nowhere to go.

I really have had enough now...I'm already on ads after the death of my dad which I am trying to come off with little success.

My work is extremely stressful. I am a manager in mental health, redundancies everywhere, cutbacks so far that can never keep on top of things, two clients dying in last two weeks (par for the course I know)
I just can't take another thing....I really do just want to be left alone.

Thank you for listening, I am getting more and more upset and just feel cornered.

MissManaged Sun 08-Sep-13 11:55:48

OP this is not trivial in any way.

I tend to hate the fact that people automatically start to say LTB over issues which may not be the first face of emotional control & abuse, because some very good marriages can have ups & downs which can be worked through. Here, though, I am going to be the person who shouts that you need to be very very careful. Your last posts could have been made by me, many years ago. A couple of decades later I had been reduced to the point where I did not want to leave the house, had no self-esteem and not an ounce of confidence in myself.
My X also felt like someone who treated me well.
He admired the fact that I was "sassy".
So he said.
But then you begin to pay a price for the 'challenges'.
It is not even a conscious process for men such as this. We give off some hidden signal to their subconscious, which identifies us as 'trainable'.

It is a slow, insidious, process and you are very right to hear alarm bells ringing. The scariest thing you have said here is "I can't see a way out unless I just walk on egg shells and keep my mouth shut"
There is a way out, and its through the front door with a suitcase.
Otherwise, a few years of "training" and you will spend the rest of your life walking on egg shells and keeping your mouth shut."

However good it may be most of the time, it will look very very different when you have become a shell of the person you used to be.
And it WILL happen.

Please, please listen to your inner voice.....while it is still able to whisper at you.

MissManaged Sun 08-Sep-13 11:57:51

Massive cross post OP.

Well done
Stay strong. Because you are very strong.
flowers

bewilderedagain Sun 08-Sep-13 12:10:31

I'm very scared...I thought this was forever.

I identify with what you are saying MissManaged your x admired that you were 'sassy'.

One of the things my DP often says to me is that he loves the fact that I am a 'strong woman' ....I am beginning to wonder if this is the case.

I'm strong in that I will speak up and am not afraid to be the only one holding an opinion whilst a room full of people think otherwise.

I manage staff in an extremely stressful job. I know I am liked and respected and that I have a reputation for being firm but totally fair.

Look at me....justifying myself...trying to convince myself that I do know how to communicate etc.

I also do know when I have argued, when I have said something irritably, when I have snapped.

Under stress last week at work, for only the second time in 8 years I said something a bit harsher than I intended to our receptionist. I went downstairs straight away and apologized.

I'm not perfect by any means but I do know what I have said and what has been said to me......or at least I used to.

Do you mind me asking MissManaged during the time period where you eventually became reduced to not wanting to leave the house etc. did your x treat you well inbetween times? Please don't answer if you don't want to.

I am so confused because he is the nicest, sweetest man....and then this.

bewilderedagain Sun 08-Sep-13 12:16:30

I have tried to talk to him reasonably, asking him to please clarify for me what I said that wound him up...he just comes back with "oh no you never do anything wrong do you? You just keep winding me up. You could have easily rang the takeaway but oh no you had to make a big thing of it" I wouldn't ring because he bellowed at me to do so. He says he didn't.....I was there...I heard him!!

well i guess I do wind him up as I ask him to explain what I've done but accusing somebody of doing something and then refusing to tell them how and just closing the conversation with "fuck off you're boring me now" does my head in

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now