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just can't get through to my cold and angry dh

(115 Posts)
superdry Fri 27-Sep-13 12:38:34

no matter how hard i try i just can't seem to communicate effectively with my husband, any issue, even vaguely contentious, ends in a row, he won't engage with me, he won't listen to me, just goes yeah yeah, whatever, which inevitably leads to me trying harder to get him to listen, which eventually leads to him losing his temper, and sometimes threatening with some kind of violence - if i am lucky i get an apology the next day, but his manner doesn't really change as he always claims i provoked him, i won't leave him alone etc etc - the only way we have any kind of peaceful life is if i never complain about anything - anything at all, thereby 'not starting an argument' - i can go for weeks like that but inevitably i eventually 'have a go' at him about something or other, and the cycle begins again. i feel emotionally drained by it all, its the same old story, he says i am the one with the problem and obviously i think its him! any nuggets of advice out there? we have 2 young children

JamieandtheMagicTorch Mon 30-Sep-13 16:46:05

"the only way we have any kind of peaceful life is if i never complain about anything - anything at all, thereby 'not starting an argument' - i can go for weeks like that but inevitably i eventually 'have a go' at him about something or other, and the cycle begins again"

That's what I mean. You are not able to express yourself. And not being able to express yourself means not really being yourself.

I totally appreciate you might be feeling harangued, and I would understand if you went away from here for a while. I wish you very well.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Mon 30-Sep-13 16:42:20

... actually I don't believe they don't see it. They may not witness his threats but they will sense his moods and their effect on you. The effort you go to to feel happy enough.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Mon 30-Sep-13 16:40:20

Your children barely see it because you are doing a good job of tip-toeing round the edges of him. How hard and how tiring that must be for you!

I think it's so unhelpful to accuse you of being as bad as him, but you do have power that you don't currently feel.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Mon 30-Sep-13 15:13:11

you all seem to be advocating that the only path is to completely change our whole lives

Yes, that is correct. And you are the only one with the power, and the responsibility, to do it.

JoinYourPlayfellows Mon 30-Sep-13 15:07:17

"apart from these horrible episodes i like my life, my home, my friends etc"

Well at least you're honest about the real reason you are forcing your children to grow up in an abusive household.

Lweji Mon 30-Sep-13 14:55:18

OP

I got rid of my exH for similar behaviour.
He didn't hit me, he pushed me against the floor once and he slapped me hard the other time.
No visible bruises.
It was after DS was asleep.

I still called the police and told him to leave the second time. I only regret not having done it the first time. sad

ageofgrandillusion Mon 30-Sep-13 14:51:44

he has never hit me, but he has pushed me and pushed me out of bed, when he threatens me he shouts right up loud in my face that he wants to smash my face in, that kind of thing really
I'm sorry OP but somebody who is capable of this kind of shit should not be living under the same roof as children. You know that, i know that, anybody with any kind of consideration for the welfare of children should know that. No, you are not as bad as him - of course not. But you have chosen this 'partner.' Your poor kids get no say in the matter.

"to reiterate my dcs are not constantly exposed to his behaviour, in fact they have barely seen it, you all seem to be advocating that the only path is to completely change our whole lives, because of a nasty behavioural pattern in a man that occurs approximately 0.001% of the time - as laughable as it may seem, apart from these horrible episodes i like my life, my home, my friends etc"

Denial is indeed a powerful force and you likely feel got at hence your defensive responses. Your anger and pain however, are being directed at the wrong people here.

It is indeed only when you are out of this will you see the full extent of the abuse he has meted out towards you and by turn your children. You do not want to see it currently because it is all far too painful and you cannot face up to the fact that again you chose someone who has turned out to be abusive.

Those so called horrible episodes certainly make up more than 0.001% of your life don't they?.

A diary as scallops suggested is a good idea, he must never find it though.

Would you want your children to have a relationship likes yours is now?.

You cannot answer what you get out of this relationship because you actually get nothing from it.

Lweji Mon 30-Sep-13 14:39:11

I often say here that it's not the good times that define if a relationship is worth keeping or not.
It's the bad times that are important.
If they are horrible, why stay?

You call them horrible.
The rest of the time, I'd guess you are walking on eggshells to avoid an argument.

I understand that you don't want to leave now, (and think calling you an abuser was OTT and unhelpful) but I'd have a plan on how to do it and make it a real possibility if things don't improve.

At the very least considering leaving will allow you to make an impression on him that his behaviour will lead to the collapse of the marriage if it doesn't improve.

AgathaF Mon 30-Sep-13 14:28:23

Good advice re a diary from scallops.

scallopsrgreat Mon 30-Sep-13 14:21:06

superdry you aren't as bad as your abusive husband, of course you aren't. And I agree that is a less than helpful comment. You aren't the one doing the abusing. It is his behaviour that is causing the problem.

But this is affecting you more than 0.001% of the time. My immediate advice, if you don't want to ring WA and you aren't in the mindset yet to leave, is to start a diary noting everytime he belittles you; threatens you with violence; everytime you feel you have to change your behaviour to avoid an outburst or to accommodate his needs above yours; is unsupportive or you just feel he isn't working with you but against you.

I suspect it is more than you think and will be enlightening.

This behaviour by him is not acceptable but also is indicative of a deep-rooted problem with him that you cannot solve. You can work around it perhaps to a certain extent but if you want you and your children to be able to flourish he will be actively working against that. Because he is controlling.

There is a pattern and they all follow it.

Hissy Mon 30-Sep-13 13:42:22

Superdry, when you are finally free of this awful man, you will look back and understand better what is being said here.

I know it was harsh, and perhaps ill-worded, certainly less than supportive, but saying that the children are suffering and you are thé only one that's standing in the way of that stopping do have some truth, albeit unpalatable.

Babies in thé WOMB are affected by domestic abuse, children sleeping are affected by abuse. I know that's not what any one of us stuck in this awful situation want to hear, but it's true.

The sooner you can find the courage to do what has to be done, the sooner you will see dramatic improvement in your DC wellbeing, and in yours.

We're here for you. Nothing you say will shock us. Truths we say may shock you though. You've been conditioned to accept this ill treatment and don't see how it's perceived with a clear head.

Call WA, you need to speak to as many people as you can about this, and when you're ready, make the only move that will resolve this. To leave him.

He won't ever get better, only worse. Getting over abuse can't be done automatically, you need outside help, and your children will possibly need it too.

So consider this a saving of some kind. The sooner you garner the strength to leave, the less you'll pay in therapy.

Keep posting, please?

Wellwobbly Mon 30-Sep-13 12:25:43

Superdry, I get you smile.

The trouble is, it is hard to wrap your head round the person you have difficulties with, with 'he is abusive, LTB etc etc'.

I have just had a counselling session where I was trying to outline the abuse. The IC interrupted, and gave me the complete key (as to why I still love someone who is 'absive')...

he said: in all the time I have seen you, the word that runs through your story is 'neglect'. Mr Wobbly is not abusive. But he has completely neglected you'.

And that is it. The IC ALSO did not absolve me of my part to play in the disintegrating of the marriage, and Superdry honestly talks about it: adding to the atmosphere of the M with frustrated, negative behaviours.

The trouble is, to Mr Superdry you are trying to talking to him. What does he hear? In the words of chumplady, 'a background drone, rising sometimes to an irritating fucking whine'. [then there is the confrontation].

I don't have the answers. But I think that is where the issue is.

BeCool Mon 30-Sep-13 12:23:44

OK superdry - well you know where we are.

Just do reread you OP though - I think his behaviour is affecting you for a lot more than a minute a day:

"no matter how hard i try i just can't seem to communicate effectively with my husband, any issue, even vaguely contentious, ends in a row, he won't engage with me, he won't listen to me, just goes yeah yeah, whatever, which inevitably leads to me trying harder to get him to listen, which eventually leads to him losing his temper, and sometimes threatening with some kind of violence - if i am lucky i get an apology the next day, but his manner doesn't really change as he always claims i provoked him, i won't leave him alone etc etc - the only way we have any kind of peaceful life is if i never complain about anything - anything at all, thereby 'not starting an argument'"

It certainly sounds as though this is taking up much more of your time and life than .001%, or .01% or 1% or even 10%.

superdry Mon 30-Sep-13 12:10:41

just to reiterate my dcs are not constantly exposed to his behaviour, in fact they have barely seen it, you all seem to be advocating that the only path is to completely change our whole lives, because of a nasty behavioural pattern in a man that occurs approximately 0.001% of the time - as laughable as it may seem, apart from these horrible episodes i like my life, my home, my friends etc

i posted on here because i was feeling crap, if you look at this as the first step before contacting womens aid, i certainly wouldn't expect someone at womens aid to tell me i was as bad as my DC for staying in the situation, i just don't find that kind of 'advice' helpful

one day i may well leave him, in the mean time i'd like to think i can come to places like this for some kind of support so i don't feel quite so alone, i am aware that mumsnetters can be quite militant, but jeez - give the girl a break, i am only human!

scallopsrgreat Mon 30-Sep-13 10:20:15

Without you both working towards the same goal, you trying to make this work alone will destroy you.

You cannot change him. You cannot make this better.

BeCool Mon 30-Sep-13 10:02:11

The thing is it doesn't matter how much YOU want to change things at home. You can want and try and devote everything to changing things at home - but he won't change. He has no interest in changing and the fact that it is something you want/need means he is even more scornful and indifferent to it.

So keep searching for a way YOU can stay and solve this - but what we are all telling you here is that you are wasting your precious life away.

Change needs to come from both parties - and he will have to undergo a major personal transformation to change - and you can't do that for him or your family.

And to be blunt, this family you are so desperate to keep together, is getting more and more damaged by the day. I think what ageofgrandillusion was saying is that if you know this, and you choose to stay in the relationship, then you are participating in the abusive environment your children are constantly exposed to. This might be difficult to hear - but you talk of wanting to take responsibility for your part in the toxic environment - well there it it.

Instead you are focusing on what part you play in causing your H to behave so horribly and abusively. Why not accept that he is responsible for himself and he chooses to be the way he is? You are responsible for yourself - and you can choose to end the relationship and then create an entirely new space and place at home.

All you can do is work on you and make the best decisions for your DC and yourself. It is dreadfully sad if you think that the best decision for you all is to stay in this horrible negative relationship. Not only is it negatively affect your DC, but you seem to believe this 'family unit' is worth preserving, at your expense, for your DC's happiness.

You can have a much more positive family unit with just you and your DC. Maybe the responsibility you need to take for the toxic relationship, is to question why do you stay, and let yourself be treated like rubbish by this man. What everyone here is telling you is that there are options.

The reason no one is advising you how you can fix your H and things at home, is because those answers don't exist. If they did the wise MN'ers would be sharing them with you.

fuzzywuzzy Mon 30-Sep-13 09:46:59

Superdry, what kind of advice are you looking for?

What do you expect us from our computer screens to offer you?

My stance whenever there is a fear of violence is to take the kids and walk, I can't in all consciousness suggest you remain in a situation whereby you risk coming to physical harm.

What exactly do you want?

Why is remaining in a marriage where there is a threat of violence and no mutual respect, love and understanding so important for you?

You and your husband are role models for future relationships for your children.

Lweji Mon 30-Sep-13 09:43:58

Could you give us an example of an argument?

superdry Mon 30-Sep-13 09:32:22

not dead, i agree with you to a certain extent, i am crazy to keep repeating myself to my dh, he certainly sees the way i go on as a type of abuse - and thats my point, i don't think these things are entirely black and white ie. he the baddie and me the goodie - yes what he is doing is appalling, but there has to be a point where you have to take some responsibility for ones part in the toxic atmosphere that creates these horrible episodes

wellwobbly, you are also right, it will check out al anon

Wellwobbly Mon 30-Sep-13 09:18:07

Superdry , hi, I so see your pain and your efforts and determination to keep your family unit intact.

The issue here is how little you are heard and how little your needs count.

You give and give and give, and try and make your needs smaller and smaller; but there comes a time when the cost is just too huge.

When I tell you to accept him for who he really is, I mean it. It means dropping the hopium pipe (that he will change) and stopping looking to him to give you what it is you need. Instead, creating an alternative support network who can.

I really advocate Al Anon which helps co dependent tendencies of focussing on the other person instead of taking steps to nurture and look after your self.

superdry none of us wants to break up a family unit, especially when the abuser is so 'good' with his or her children.

But here's the thing; by being abusive to their mother, he is being abusive to the children.

He is teaching them to disrespect you, to treat you as a sub-human, that violence and aggression are not only ok but useful in getting what you want. He's teaching them that a man should be dominant and that power and control are worth more than love, respect and compromise.

His father may have changed with intense therapy. But look what he did to his son before the change. Do you want that for your children?

At least, with him gone, they can maintain a relationship but won't be exposed to the horrible nuances of an abusive relationship.

I believe people can change but only a) alone, b) because they want to and c) after intensive work and a long time.

What you're feeling is normal. You need to think of how you feel when it happens, as it happens and cling on to that feeling. Because you've been conditioned to talk yourself around.

But your instincts are not wrong. This should not be happening.

NotDead Mon 30-Sep-13 08:53:11

need s more examination but you have already said that if you decide he is not listening you keep hammering the same message home until..and beyond ..tge point he gets annoyed. signaks lije 'yeah yeah whatever' really are 'ok I've taken in the info now you are going on so much I am starting to resent you talking about it'

I suspect you need a 'I have heard' noise or comment that he isn't used to giving and so you keep on and on.

A rel counsellor I knew had some theory about this treatment hardening a man's emotions a little each time. I have had thus treatment from a woman who said that 'men never listen' what was actually happening is that every time I said 'ok I understand' or ' yes ill do that' she said she 'knew' i didn't mean it, or 'knew' I wasn't listening really. When asked? Because she 'is very attuned'. she never Trusted me to do tge thing or behave differentlywithout pointed reminders.. thereby 'proving' that I hadn't listened and she 'had to' remind me.

It took a while but I learnt to make hearing noises and she learnt to say things only once or twice. .. perhaps some different techniques would give you a different outcome.

keeping pushing and paving when signals say 'stop' is kind of abusive in itself

Why is keeping this family unit together so important to you?. Is that what you were told when you were growing up, that you must keep it all together regardless of cost to you?. Made your bed type and lie in it type nonsense?.

By staying you are showing your children that this treatment of you is acceptable to you on some level.

We learn about relationships after all first and foremost from our parents, your DH learnt a lot of rubbish and unsurprisingly has followed on with the same abuse he saw and learnt about in his own childhood.

superdry Mon 30-Sep-13 08:22:00

thanks ageofgrandillusion for spreading the love and empathy! to call someone who is attacked as bad as the attacker is pretty harsh, and quite frankly the way my dh thinks! if i felt bad before you sure as hell haven't helped with your lovely words

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